Travel in Time at the Octagon Bolton Reviewed by Hilary Dawes
This month the Octagon presents a riotous re-telling of H. G. Wells’ epic novel “The Time Machine”. Written by Steven Canny and John Nicholson and directed by Orla O’Loughlin, this is an adaptation like no other, where one of the greatest pieces of 20th century fiction is blended with an entirely contemporary sub-plot. But H. G. Wells purists be warned – a faithful adaptation of the original text this is not, but rather a hilarious roller coaster ride of a show and a brilliant new take on a classic science-fiction novella, where extraordinary and unimaginable things can happen!
We join the play as a small acting company are supposed to be rehearsing “The Importance of being Earnest”. However, plans change, when lead character Dave discovers a chair, previously owned by his great-great-grandfather, H. G. Wells himself, which he believes could be a real time machine, and he is intent on re-enacting the novel and proving that the chair could indeed be the real thing. With ingenious props and lighting effects, the cast attempt to demonstrate some of the paradoxes surrounding time travel, and we see them assume various characters, including Kermit and Miss Piggy and even Harry and Meghan, to hilarious effect. Amy, who has been itching since the start to include a Cher song in the play, finally gets her way, demonstrating an incredible vocal ability!
As the play-within-a-play gathers pace, and further evidence of time travel becomes apparent to Dave, the first half ends on a cliff-hanger, leaving the audience wondering what on earth will happen next to redeem the fate of the hapless Michael.
The second half involves an intricate and lengthy plot, requiring the audience’s participation and trust in more ways than one, and that we remain interested and invested in the overall story is testament to the exceptional improvisation and comedic skills of all three cast members. Will the perilous time travel experiment have a happy outcome? Find out at the Octagon Bolton, before time runs out on 22nd April!
As lead character Dave, Dave Hearn gives a superlative performance, with his natural ability to engage the audience and his impeccable comic timing. Michael Dylan commands our sympathy as he perfectly portrays the nervy and put-upon Michael, and Amy Revelle is wonderful as the feisty Amy, trying to keep everything from careering out of control.
The amazing creative team of Fred Miller, Colin Grenfell and Gregory Clarke worked wonders with design, lighting and sound, cleverly immersing us in the atmosphere of this time-travelling tale.
Don’t miss this fantastic production, running at the Octagon Bolton until 22nd April 2023.