'Hello! What time do you call this?' A friendly voice called out to the audience as we entered the Rotunda performance space. It was time to experience a fun, physical and dynamic interpretation of HG Wells' classic novel The Time Machine from touring theatre company The Keeper's Daughter. This thought provoking and entertaining version not only thrilled us with the idea of time travel being possible, but stayed true to the original novel, whilst entertaining us with brief interactive elements that tied the show into Brighton and the events of 2022 without losing the novel's essence.
...a fun, physical and dynamic interpretation of HG Wells' classic novel The Time Machine
Mark Finbow not only directed and adapted The Time Machine for stage, but took on the challenge of portraying the story purely from the eyes of the eccentric inventor himself. The amount of research that has gone into the performance was so precise that we thought we were seeing someone who was genuinely from the 1800s. From the language used, to the detail of the inventor's costume, everything has been planned extremely carefully to see this character become alive as he ended up on a 'music hall stage' of 2022, telling us his adventures within the future. Finbow's carefully constructed character was so full of warmth, honesty and comedic moments that the audience didn't want his adventures to end. Even when up against a power failure that delayed the show, he used this particular detour to his advantage and cleverly used it as part of the show when charging his time machine to full power.
As well as Finbow's mesmerising performance and a beautiful little puppet that indicated his new companion Wee-Nar, it was the set indicating the time machine itself that was a major highlight. Creators Mike McShane and Ekatarina Luzgina collaborated over two weeks before rehearsels began to create a compact set that was adapatable enough to indicate all the sounds, sparks and smoke that came out of a machine such as this one to take us back to a time of steam powered machines that propelled the future then. It not only added an element of suspense, but combined with inventive choreography from Alexandra Ewing and music by Artificial Pleasure, it became an experience that seemed authentic to those who either knew the story, were new to HG Wells, or a child who loved inventions and had their imaginations sparked.
The Time Machine was engaging, mesmerising and raised awareness of how the future could be if we continued as we were. With a link up to our modern times, Finbow created a show that was memorable for the right reasons and created somthing that was equally family friendly and thought provoking for us adults.