Melbourne Fringe: Passionate Machine

MF19 Passionate MachineBeginning in childhood, Rosy Carrick used to write letters to her future self. She was intrigued with how one person could be split in two as sender and receiver of information. In early adulthood she lost interest in the practice, until receiving a letter from herself from the year 1930.

Time-traveller Carrick was stuck in the past, needing present-day Carrick to gear up and help out. Passionate Machine outlines the attempts of contemporary Carrick to meet the challenge when her knowledge of time travel is limited to Hollywood Sci-Fi films.

The set up was appealing, but Carrick – a PhD-qualified scholar specialising in the works of the Russian poet Mayakovsky – isn’t so convincing as a science-y kind of nerd. Not only appearing unlikely to gain the knowledge required to crack her technical problems, she also seemed to lack the right personality type. Perhaps the low budget let the show down here – I suspect a little more bling in the props might have helped us to suspend disbelief.

My guest and I couldn’t manage this, which might have also been due to the superficiality and verbosity of some scenes. The documentary footage didn’t always advance the action, such as that following an unlikely invitation to CERN, where most video was of the cafeteria and toilets. There were some diversions and irrelevancies, and it’s difficult to get caught up in the drama if we feel that there’s not much at stake.

There’s some attempt to build a puzzle, but if you’ve seen much Star Trek, Doctor Who, or even Red Dwarf, you will probably guess at the important plot twists. Carrick’s performance is solid, but with an amount of bustling (yet unfocused) action and a rock soundtrack, this might appeal more to Fringe punters at the start of their journey across time.

Passionate Machine
The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Performance: Monday 16 September 2019 – 5:15pm
Season continues to 22 September 2019
Information and Bookings:

Image: Passionate Machine (supplied)

Review: Jason Whyte