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The Time Machine: An Invention – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: H.G. Wells

Adaptor: Robert Lloyd Parry

Reviewer: Tracey Lowe

[Rating:4]

The_Time_Machine_The_LowryNunkie Theatre have taken a break from their usual spooky M.R. James plays, and have decided to adapt H.G. Wells’ classic sci-fi ‘The Time Machine’. However, they have applied techniques used in their more nerve-wracking plays to create a very atmospheric piece.

A mysterious man emerges from a strange box, dressed only in long underwear. He has just returned from the year 802,701, and the box is a working time machine that took him there. He recounts the people he met there; a strange race of small, child-like adults called the Eloi, and the mysterious underground creatures that haunt them, the Morlocks. He tells of how his time machine was stolen by the Morlocks, and an Eloi woman, Weena, helps him retrieve it.

The story is over one hundred years old, and brought the term “time machine” into popular parlance. This new adaptation is both written and performed by Robert Lloyd Parry, and is a minimal affair. The one main prop, used to tremendous effect, is the time machine itself, which is used to represent various other things in the story. Built to resemble a giant metronome, it is very visually striking.

Parry’s performance as the Time Traveller is very engaging. He performs the piece with an air of disbelief; as if he still isn’t convinced it happened to him. The character is clearly a genius, given his creation, but comes across as fallible, honest and warm. Parry’s physicality is tremendous; he didn’t stand still for more than a minute at a time.

The use of sound and lighting was incredibly impressive. There were times when there was a genuine air of unease. This one-man monologue definitely benefitted from being performed in the intimate studio space. When the narrator gave an account his trip down the tunnels to where the Morlocks dwelled, the audience got a real sense of the claustrophobia.

‘The Time Machine’ is another unique production from Nunkie Theatre. Atmospheric, interesting and entertaining, this is a great adaptation of a well-known story.

Runs until 29th June 2013

 

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