The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy Part III: The Deliverance

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 20 Aug 2015

The world premiere of the third instalment in Jennifer Tremblay’s Mothers Trilogy is, visually, a far cry from the stark simplicity of part one: here is a church with votive candles in red holders. But it is the natural emergence of themes that have been a long time coming: what was a small alcove shrine in part two is now a complete chapel as faith comes to the fore. What was a steam organ soundtrack in is now a full-blown church organ, piping the same theme. It relies heavily on symbolism, and reflects more closely on death.

The narrator, seeking refuge from the distresses of her dying mother’s bedside, has come to a chapel. Maureen Beattie as the narrator is wonderfully expressive. Flittering through the memories of her childhood and her family, she bounces from character to character with assured confidence in her voice, the outward confidence of a mother in whom her child can see no fault.

She is almost Christ-like herself, a forsaken figure demanding answers from an ostensibly cruel god. With a revered mother and a stepfather hanging in the background, even her family setup is similar to Jesus'. 

Tremblay has described parts one and two as "head" and "heart" respectively. Part three is "gut", a visceral stomach-punch of a play that stops questioning and starts surrendering to instinct. The instinct of a mother to love a child, of a child to love a mother, and how life can often throw things in the way.