• Amy Toledano

The Time Machine presented by Creation Theatre

Image courtesy of Richard Budd

What is it?

The Time Machine is a contemporary re imagining of the Sci Fi classic by HG Wells, adapted by Jonathan Holloway into a piece of immersive theatre that takes place inside the London Library. Directed by Natasha Rickman, there are four separate Time Travellers, each taking their own small audience group with them on an adventure through time.

What is it about?

Taking themes, not only from HG Wells’ Time Machine, but from actual events in the recent past and also modern day (unintentionally but scarily relating to the current day pandemic), we are taken forwards and back in time by our designated Time Traveller to explore the ‘what ifs’ and ‘buts’ of alternate realities that could potentially have been prevented. However, time travel has been deemed illegal, and so the audience acts as witnesses to the Time Traveller's attempts to highlight and put a stop to the dangerous use of time machines by the rich and demonstrating how changing the slightest thing in the past will create a whole new alternate universe.

How did it make me feel?

It was exciting to be a part of the plot of this piece of immersive theatre as we journeyed through the Library. The actors fully interact with audience members, keen to get them involved in the mission at hand. Members of the audience were eager, if not a little shy, to join in with the action and help our Time Traveller unravel the secrets and crisis’ caused by the unstable and unruly use of time travel by the rich.

Although fun and exciting, the performance has an important message to impart on the audience. It rings true and perfectly relevant to current day ignorance of big issues and prevalent problems that can be prevented, or otherwise, at least controlled if the world would wake up to the reality of these issues and make more meaningful and sensible decisions.

With a heavy dystopian theme, directly relating itself and using HG Wells’ novel as part of the plot, it’s an eye opening bit of writing, that draws you in by showing you an idea of what the world would look like in the near future if something isn’t done. Within the piece, time travel was not the answer, but rather a factor in the slow destruction and decay of human society, causing the spread of pandemics throughout time as well as across the world. The takeaway message feels like we must take care with our actions now, because time is ultimately our worst enemy.

Anything else?

The performance of the Time Traveller (played by the wonderful Clare Humphrey during the performance I attended) is energetic beyond belief. The dialogue contains a lot of information to impart onto the audience, which has the potential to become somewhat of an overload. This, however, is never the case. With the help of other cast members, the performance remains enticing and intriguing until the last beat.

The fact it is set in The London Library means we are figuratively and literally taken on a journey as we venture through the different rooms, meeting new characters (and computers) along the way. Because of this, it has a very intimate and intense feel to it, especially as each group has a maximum of 20 audience members. This works incredibly well as the actors are able to interact comfortably with each of us at some point, even if it is just to hold eye contact for a few seconds.

This is a special piece of theatre, not just for the Sci Fi nerds out there, but anyone that wishes to go on an adventure.

Charlotte x

The Time Machine is playing at The London Library until the 5th April 2020.

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