Marcel Pursued By the Hounds by Michel Tremblay

Michel Tremblay is a French Canadian playwright who was an Angry Young Man in the 60s and shook the stuffy Anglophone artistic establishment by introducing Quebequois working class characters and themes along with their local patois, jouai. Since he writes in French, the quality of translation is important. His best known play, Les Belles-Soeurs, interestingly, was done in Scots a few years ago as The Guid-Sisters - I can see how that would work as a parallel universe.

Marcel Pursued By Dogs is a distant reworking of classical legend. The three Fates - in this production elegant young women in Empire dresses clutching rag dolls - are waiting for Marcel, a teenager who is having a nervous breakdown and desperately needs their help. The dogs (a French Canadian nickname for the police) are after him; he has witnessed the murder of Mercedes, on whom he has a crush, but who is the mistress of his sister’s husband, Maurice. There is no resolution, as the play ends with Marcel resting in the arms of the Fates, while his sister sports the black eye that they predicted her husband would give him.

It is extremely difficult to find a style for Tremblay, who is a kind of low-rent Tennessee Williams. He needs poetry, intensity, and self-assurance. Each character is in a self-contained world. This production suffers from a rather clunky translation, and over-literal direction which treats it as a naturalistic ‘well-made play’. It is, however, beautifully designed, and anyone interested in unusual North American repertoire should seek it out.

Reviews by Peter Scott-Presland

Charing Cross Theatre

Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris

★★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

Return of the Soldier

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

Eye of a Needle

★★★★
Rosemary Branch Theatre

The Trial of the Jew Shylock

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

In The Heights

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Marcel and his ferociously unforgiving sister Thérèse are hounded by memory, reputation and an unsatisfactory present. They eke out an existence amidst a seedy world of crime, watched by four nurturing fates.

Most Popular See More

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets