Note: This review is from the 2018 Fringe

Rosy Carrick is obsessed with Russian poet and dissident Vladimir Mayakovsky. She has completed a PhD on the writer, made friends with his daughter, learned Russian to further understand his work and edited a book of his poetry and writing. Rosy is so obsessed that she has decided to invent time travel go back and visit the Russian writer in the 1920’s before he takes his own life at the age 36.

Passionate Machine is a storytelling theatre show that combines science fiction and real life experience to presents a magnitude of ideas and pop culture references. We follow Rosy as she connects with a mysterious character (named Year Solver) that she met online. This shadowy person will help Rosy figure out the complexities of time travel and allow her to save her future self and rid her life of torment.

The Terminator movies, Bill and Ted, Back to the Future and other time travel films are mentioned throughout the performance. This in turn is augmented with references to David Bowie, Mayakovsky, Rocky Balboa and Stephen Hawking. Sometimes the multitude of references gets in the way of the storytelling. When Rosy divulges her own life experiences the show works best and feels warm and moving. However, the entire time travel element feels a bit too ridiculous to get behind. Yes, of course it would be great to go back in time, but finding inspiration in poets as brilliant as Valdimir Mayakovsky and musicians as original as David Bowie might actually enough to present an engaging and interesting spoken word storytelling show about finding encouragement and motivation.

The conclusion of Passionate Machine ties many of the mysteries of the show together and the ending feels satisfying and rewarding. Rosy Carrick is a great storyteller and her ability with words makes Passionate Machine a great piece of spoken word theatre.