Time Machine – A Comedy Review

Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton – until Saturday 30th March then touring the UK

Review by Amanda Allen


I purposely didn’t research this production before going to see it as I wanted the surprise of the unexpected that the advertising promised, and I wasn’t disappointed. Time Machine written by Steven Canny and John Nicholson was certainly funny, more due to the excellent comedic talents of the 3 main characters than anything else. The performance tonight featured Noah Marullo playing the part normally taken by Amy Revelle and he was simply hilarious. The fact that he was understudying at the last minute and had to hold a script throughout the performance, and they had had limited rehearsal time simply added to the comedic madness of the show.

This adaptation starts off as three actors, George Kemp, Michael Dylan and Noah Marullo, switch from performing The Importance of Being Earnest and attempt to recreate HG Wells Time Machine after being cajoled by Dave, who is the great-great grandson of HG Wells. Directed by Orla O’Loughlin, this show is marketed to be an adaptation like no other, when the world of science fiction and science fact collide, and it certainly lives up to the hype. George Kemp tried so hard to influence the rest of the cast into doing things his way but everything just kept going wrong! The first half was a little slow but set the scene for the madness of the second half by explaining the time traveling paradox’, introducing the characters and outlining the story. Things very soon start to go awry with technical problems, lines outs of sync, sounds of props falling off stage, all very much in the style of “The Play That Goes Wrong” type of theatre. The ringing of a phone in the audience was so perfectly timed, that I am still not sure if it was a prop call or an someone in the audience had failed to put their phone on silent!

The plot, rescuing a character from mortal danger almost completely consumes act two, that said there is not much plot to unfold but more pantomime style shenanigans including quite a few members of the audience, with live portraiture, using an audience member’s phone and an audience member being invited to be Michael’s last ever date on stage. The chemistry and comedic timing between the 3 actors was exceptional but for me the outstanding performance was from Michael, he is certainly dramatic, very funny and not only manages to do an Irish jig and hip hop mash up but also delivers a soliloquy with great pathos. They all really owned the stage with their melodramatic performances .

If you struggle with the idea of audience interaction, I suggest sitting in the circle as the entire stalls, including myself, who ended up on stage as Michael’s “date” get equally picked on. If you are a fan of comedic mishaps, outrageous innuendo, badly sung Cher tribute songs and hip-hop mashups, I’d suggest that time waits for no one and you’d better go to see this show whilst you can.