The Time Machine at Assembly Roxy is one show at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe that without a doubt deserves to be as successful as its sister production this year “Austen’s Women” as it comes from the same production company, Dyad Productions. Dyad are building for themselves as a company a solid reputation for impressive theatre, and The Time Machine is no exception.
Written and directed by Elton Townend Jones and with creative direction from Rebecca Vaughan, (Austen’s Women) this re-invention of the 120 year old HG Wells classic story stays close to the original source material while at the same time bringing into focus our own contemporary follies as a society as we speed at our own pace through time towards H G Wells’ bleak final outcome for the human race. All of this is impressively told in an outstanding solo performance over 90 minutes by Stephen Cunningham with a little assistance from some background sound effects, sparse, but well used lighting (just watch those well thought out shadows) and an amazing script to work from.
Stephen Cunningham is a natural story teller and this whole production not only rests on his impressive acting ability, but his talents as a story teller to pull an audience into his world and hold them there. There is a very sparse stage set here, but that doesn’t matter in the slightest as both the script and Stephen’s ability to create the world of his story around him is what matters and it is part of the enduring magic of live theatre that we as an audience soon start to visualise this world of time travel so quickly in our own mind’s eye. There is something very primeval in our need as human beings to be told a story, and perhaps this show somehow taps into that very basic instinct and desire.
You don’t have to know the original source material or be familiar with the far flung future fates of humanity as it splits into the Eloi and the Morlocks, as this story will do all that is required to bring you up to speed on everything. There are also some nice updates to contemporary items in an ancient and long forgotten museum which of course make no sense to our time traveller.
As with all good theatre, this is a story on more than one level. At its most basic it is the retelling of a classic science fiction story, but strip away a few layers and many of the institutions that have shaped our society to date are re-examined and held up in the future light to come to their own futilities.
Review by Tom King
Dyad Productions interview
We are at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe and having a quick chat here with Dyad Productions’ Elton Townend Jones - Producer/Writer/Director from Dyad Productions – and actor Stephen Cunningham who is currently performing Elton’s adaptation of “The Time Machine” at Assembly Roxy. CLICK HERE TO READ THIS INTERVIEW