The Time Machine, The London Library - ★★★★ - Until April 5, 2020


Science fiction is notoriously difficult to present theatrically; this immersive version of H. G. Wells' The Time Machine succeeds where many have failed. In groups of twenty, we were whizzed through the glorious galleries and bookshelves of the London Library. It is difficult to describe unless you can imagine travelling through 'The Crystal Maze' in the company of Doctor Who on steroids! This new dramatic version, written by Jonathan Holloway in November 2019, is loosely based on the novel's premise. The Traveller gives a lecture to his weekly dinner guests suggesting that time is simply a fourth dimension and he then demonstrates his invention. It was rather bewildering at the beginning because the narrative has been updated and jiggled about, but as we went with the flow, the anachronisms, ambience and theatricality of it all became enjoyable and, unexpectedly, spookily realistic. The idea that when we visit the future sections of the population have been infected and imprisoned due to a flu-like pandemic is now being overtaken by real events. The rooms we visited were beautifully lit with superb effects and sound, while Natasha Rickman's production was by turns engaging, amusing and frighteningly percipient. Clare Humphrey was magnificent as our guide and mentor. Her encounter with DRI, excellently portrayed by Sarah Edwardson, was a highlight and PK Taylor was rightly weird as an android. Theatre should bring new experiences to our lives, and this is an event that offers a unique adventure.

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Image: Time Traveller Clare Humphrey. Photo: Richard Budd © 2020.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until April 5, 2020
Wed - Sat: 7 pm, 7:20 pm 7:40 pm & 8 pm
Sun: 5 pm, 5:20 pm, 5:40 pm & 6 pm
The London Library
Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus
https://www.londonlibrary.co.uk/whats-on/58-the-time-machine

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