Anjali Singh has created a show that is a fusion of a Ted Talk, comedy and musical theatre, to depict how much time changes in the blink of an eye. She used this framework to explore different meanings of time throughout history, but still made them relevant to today's experiences of lockdown.
Singh is a strong performer, with a voice to be heard
Using elements of her own life, as well as moments of seemingly abstract usages of a grandfather clock in the opening scene, Singh immediately set the scene. What if clocks could talk? Do they have families? And what would they make of phones being able to reset themselves automatically and telling the time? The character of the grandfather clock gave us a clever insight to the idea of time being taken (quite literally) for granted. Singh made us recognise how these special clocks no longer have a purpose - especially when we were informed by the grandfather clock that having the time changed "was our Christmases". It was poignant and yet insightfully funny at the same time, due to some of these little asides thrown in for good measure.
Despite some of the material needing to be tightened up for better comedy moments, what evolved was a show that had a mixture of everything in it, which made it have something for everyone.
Some of the show's highlights included songs influenced by the popular musical Hamilton to indicate how certain eras looked at time. One highlight involved looking at periods in history where time in itself was difficult. For example, there was an examination of the people who worked on the land centuries ago, who during some seasons had a lot of work, whereas in the next periods they had none whatsoever. It was suggested that on those occasions, time fluctuated so much that it was hard to know what to do with it. The fact that this was a direct mirror to the recent lockdowns brought home the fact that time is precious and we have to make the most of it, no matter what is thrown at us. This was a bold move, but it really made us think about time in more detail, due to the sheer unpredictability of the beast.
But what made A Matter of Time special was Singh's own experience of time itself. Being bad with time, schedules, deadlines, body clocks for wanting children, as well as her own awkward relationship with her mother, who seemed like an army major keeping her privates in check. This not only made the show a very personal journey which we felt privileged to be invited into through her open and honest nature, but also it was a risk that enabled all who saw it rethink about their relationship with time in a more positive way.
This is a show that, with a little more tightening in places, could be one of the strongest highlights of the Fringe this year. Singh is a versatile performer, with a voice to be heard. Do not miss it.