The Time Traveller’s Wife: The Musical ★★★ Apollo Theatre | Oct 7, 2023 - Mar 30, 2024

Every relationship faces challenges. But what if your partner were popping backward and forward in time, and showing up naked when he appeared? This could be a real deal breaker! The premise of this romcom is a lot of fun and the staging of the show is quite amazing as Henry makes various appearances at different points in Clare's life. One of the issues, however, is that time travel demands a strict consistency around how the concept is played out, and this becomes confusing, to the point of distracting, in this musical adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's best-selling novel. Sometimes Henry can tailor his actions based on what he knows the future to be and sometimes he seems unable to anticipate the consequences of his actions. On occasion Henry can affect the future based on his foreknowledge and then at other times he can't. Is post mortem time travel really a possibility? Unfortunately, such inconsistencies around the central premise can take the audience out of the story and out of the mood. Joanna Woodward as the incredibly patient Clare and David Hunter as the peripatetic Henry work hard to establish their characters and give substance to their relationship, but the score doesn't really help much. None of the songs with the exception of "I See Her," the duet of Henry and his father, is particularly memorable. Indeed for us, it is that scene which actually had the most emotional resonance in the show, any affinity with Clare and Henry's dilemma being lost in the complicated conceit underlying their relationship. As the comic couple counterpointing the main love story, Tim Mahendran as Gomez and Hiba Elchikhe as Charisse squeeze all the laughs possible from their parts. However, they aren't really given many very original lines, and the suggestion of Gomez's ongoing infatuation with Clare is left awkwardly hanging. The Time Traveller's Wife has some delightfully clever moments of illusion and a terrific set, but to appreciate this musical iteration, it probably helps if you're already a lover of the book.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Johan Persson

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