Our Carnal Hearts


The Guardian Picks of Edinburgh 

Wickedly funny... soothing and sharp-edged at the same time ****  The Stage
Not just honest... very funny, too, and streaked with regret ****  Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
Deeply engaging... beautifully blends together mundane normality and phantasmal spectacle.   *****  Broadway Baby
We laugh, we think, we question, we sing, we admire, we envy, we make confessions, we congratulate our rivals on their success "and learn to mean it), we exorcise our own demons, and ultimately we emerge out of this show lighter and with a spring in our step. Exeunt


This fairy comes round your house.
You, she says, are in luck.
Ask for anything you want. Anything in the world and I’ll give it to you. But whatever you ask for, your neighbour gets the same thing, but double.
Great. You say. Fine.
Cut out one of my eyes.

With a raucous chorus of original music, Rachel Mars and four belting female singers come at you with hilarious dark show about the hidden workings of one of our uglier emotions. Our Carnal Hearts is a gleeful, thrilling and murky celebration of envy, competitive spirits and all the times we f*ck each other over. Like a combination of performance, comedy, a singing lesson and a conjuring ritual, the show feels like five women have rocked up at your town and are inviting you to a beautiful, raucous theatrical ceremony.

Our Carnal Hearts is a celebration of envy, a joyous call for everyone we’ve ever wanted to be and everything we’ve ever wanted to own. A place to whoop at our own fragility and delight against our better nature. A toast to our competitive spirits and a rumbling dance for the ugly gutter-tramping parts of our souls. A show that seeks to prove that envy makes us better. That politicians are right: that its spirit runs through our hearts, lymph systems and bowels and it’s glorious and we wouldn't want it any other way.

I’ve been obsessed with the state of envy across the personal and the political for the past few years. It remains a shamefully taboo emotion.  With Our Carnal Hearts I am riding our current - very perfect –[shit]storm of envy: a culmination of fears of scarcity, isolation born from technology, the move from collectivism to individualism and status anxiety derived from consumerism. The show is a passionate act of exorcism, reimagining envy aside from the humiliation and guilt that it has been imbued with by religion, and the contortions through which politicians mangle envy to serve agendas of wealth accumulation.

Our Carnal Hearts is a gorgeous, gleeful rummage through our darkest urges. Funny, sinister and intimate it is part capitalist satire and part emotional vivisection. It is both a provocation and a catharsis and leaves us smiling, shaken and even perhaps a little kinder.
Jonathan Wakeham, Screenwriter

A magnificent ode to our fucked up times
Matthieu Goeury, Vooruit, Belgium

Both joyful and delightfully painful. Moved me to celebrate what is terribly human with song and revelry, delivered masterfully.
Ari Barbanell, American Repetrory Theatre

A show of wit and verve that -aptly- hides a dark heart. It made me question my own relationship to envy and how the pace of our online lives is overtaking our emotional capacity to connect with our own interiors, never mind other people. 
Louise Stephens, Deputy Literary Manager, Royal Court Theatre, London

Written and Performed by Rachel Mars
Music Composed and Arranged by Louise Mothersole
Dramaturgy by Wendy Hubbard
Additional Dramaturgy by Louise Stephens
Sung by Rhiannon Armstrong, Louise Mothersole, Orla O'Flanagan, Rachel Weston, Rebecca Atkinson -Lord
Co-Directed by Rachel Mars and Wendy Hubbard
Lighting Design by Anna Barrett
Relights and Production Management by Sorcha Stott-Strzala
Produced by Rebecca Atkinson-Lord
Originally Produced by Abby Butcher
Produced in the US/Internationally by Lucy Jackson

Developed with the support of Arts Council England, South East Dance in partnership with Jerwood Charitable Trust, Orchard Project (NY), CPT, Cambridge Junction, Ovalhouse, American Repertory Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre and Playwrights' Workshop Montreal.

Photos by Claire Haigh and Chris Shea




4* - THE GUARDIAN     4* - THE STAGE      5* BROADWAY BABY     4* - FEST  

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Guardian - Edinburgh Fest in Pictures

Upcoming Shows

Carlow Festival, June 7th 2019

Performances to date - 2016-8

Fusebox Festival, Austin | Watch Out Festival Cambridge | Shoreditch Town Hall | Royal Exchange, Manchester | Theatre Royal Margate |  CPT |
Oberon, A.R.T Boston | Norwich Arts Centre | Harlow Playhouse | The House, Plymouth | LAB Leeds | The Albany |Chapter, Cardiff | CHORUS festival SBC, London | Summerhall Edinburgh | ACCA Brighton | Portsmouth Theatre Royal | Vooruit, Gent | Oxford Playhouse On The Boards Seattle | Brisbane Festival