Regina Fringe Festival Review: Molly

SHOW: EYE OF THE STORM PRODUCTIONS: MOLLY
VENUE: ST. MARY’S ANGLICAN CHURCH, 15TH AND MONTAGUE
SCHEDULE: July 2 – 8:15 p.m.; July 3 – 9:15 p.m.; July 4 – 2:45 p.m.; July 5 – 5:15 p.m.; July 6 – 7:30 p.m.
RATING: 4/5

Molly Bloom has a filthy mind, and she doesn’t care whether the fourth wall knows it.

Based on James Joyce’s Ulysses, “Molly” adapts the novel’s final chapter, a long punctuation-free monologue running through the mind of Molly Bloom as she drifts off to sleep – or, if you read it closely, gets herself off while her husband snores.

Mancunian Carly Tarett gives Molly as dirty and earthy a reading as possible as she courses through her girlhood memories, compares her husband’s prowess to that of her lover’s (the singer Hugh “Blazes” Boylan), fantasizes about an affair with the young Stephen Daedalus and eventually returns (by a commodious vicus of recirculation) to her primal erotic memory:  the afternoon that her husband Leopold proposed to her, expressed in a “yes”-studded rush of ecstatic language.

As Molly, Tarett’s performance is joyously physical. She twirls, poses and winks as she lays out the contents of her mind, making full use of the small stage and its sparse set. Her interpretation of Molly Bloom downplays the tragic elements of the character – the death of their infant son, the disappointment and weariness in a marriage that has drifted off-course – in favour of the comic and salacious. Tarett mutes Molly’s anger and grief into affectionate irritation and wisftulness, which may have been a good decision for a Fringe performance. “Molly” is really about the joy and erotic power of words, and if you doubt me, wait for the look in Tarett’s eye when she fantasizes about “a man of letters”. It’s like she’s rolling the phrase over her entire body.

Bottom line: If you’re a fan of Joyce, you can’t afford to miss this one. You may want to leave the kids at home, though.

Author: Aidan Morgan

Aidan is a very serious man who’s saving up for a nice dignified pipe. Then we’ll see who’s laughing.