Verdict: Highly Recommended Show
Venue: Assembly Roxy
Website: Stellar Quines
Written by: Jennifer Tremblay
Translated by: Stellar Quines
Company: Stellar Quines Theatre Company
‘Set in Quebec, a woman struggles to adjust to an isolated new life and troubled marriage. Her obsession with lists leads to tragic consequences’.
Stellar Quines Theatre Company present The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy as part of Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Each show can be viewed as stand alone pieces but they are interlinked to create a powerful trilogy. Written by Jennifer Tremblay, translated by Stellar Quines, and performed by Maureen Beattie The List examines themes of family, loss, and regret.
The beautifully written, lyrical script is performed brilliantly by Maureen Beattie who plays the woman trying to deal with an unhappy family life, and mental illness who is thrown into a world of guilt when an error in her obsessive list making has fatal consequences. Beattie portrays a very likeable, unlikeable character who is broken and struggling. Anti-social, harsh, and anxious yet wanting to be open hearted, warm, and useful; she battles with herself and the deep regret she feels.
There is a lot of humour within the text despite the highly strung, guilt filled overtones and Beattie conveys it all in a very relatable way proving her standing as an accomplished actor. There are many complexities to the character, many hypocrisies that come across as genuine and forgivable. Speaking of her children they seem happy, and unaffected by the struggles she goes through showing another aspect to her character, one of successful mother despite her flaws and mistakes and sometimes terrible thoughts.
Her approach is almost detached as she talks yet there are nuances that betray her often cold demeanor. The regret she feels is palpable and both the writing and the performance evokes much emotion. Each character, despite all being portrayed in storytelling fashion by Beattie, feels very real from the often absent husband to the sticky fingered children of Caroline. The ease at which she slips from character to character without confusion, with only slight changes in voice and demeanour, is commendable as Beattie constructs a whole world just by doing this. There is a need to know what fate has in store for these people and there are no moments of boredom while waiting to find out.
The set is simple but feels true to the content of the piece while sound and lighting play a big part in creating the foreboding atmosphere, using shadow to good effect. Teamed with the beautiful writing and endearing performance The List cements itself as a fantastic piece of theatre.