Whether you're familiar with HG Wells' classic or not, Original Theatre's production of The Time Machine - a Comedy is a side-splitting journey through time that promises an evening of sheer silliness and light-hearted fun. Directed by Orla O’Loughlin, and written by Steven Canny and John Nicholson, this version loosely draws inspiration from the original while offering a fresh take on the story, blending silliness, bizarre humour, and an abundance of laughter.
Presented as a play within a play, the production introduces a self-referential and reflexive dynamic that immediately engages the audience. Without ruining any surprises, the plot revolves around a three-person theatre company that abandons their production of The Importance of Being Earnest in favour of a reworked version of Wells' masterpiece, The Time Machine. The catalyst for this theatrical pivot is the revelation that one of the company members is the great-great-grandson of Wells himself, discovering that the iconic story was not a mere work of fiction.
What ensues is a weird and wonderful narrative that, at first glance, appears deceptively simple.
However, the layers of the story, both intricate and hilarious, are gradually peeled away, revealing
unexpected surprises. Describing the plot in detail risks spoiling the numerous laugh-out-loud moments and the ridiculous exploration of time travel logic and paradoxes that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Don't let the first act deter you, even if you find yourself sitting there, perplexed and wondering what's happening. The second act proves to be a revelation, delivering consistent surprises and a heightened level of interactivity. Audience participation takes an unexpected turn in this afternoon’s performance when an actual quantum physicist (Chris!) in the audience engages in witty banter with the cast. This unique collaboration adds an extra layer of hilarity, blending scientific intricacies with the absurdity of the theatrical world.
Breaking the fourth wall becomes an art form as the trio of Dave Hearn, Michael Dylan, and Amy Revelle take centre stage. Their impeccable chemistry, spot-on comic timing, and lovable characters are the beating heart of the show. Hearn's natural connection with the audience ensures that interactive sections feel not only entertaining, but also inviting and safe. Revelle and Dylan deliver spot-on performances, complementing Hearn's prowess and creating a tightly-knit ensemble. The trio's improvisation skills shine in the second act, proving their ability to navigate the unexpected with grace and humour.
The intentional lack of coherence becomes the play's unique charm – nothing really makes sense, and that's precisely what makes it so captivating. A clear stamp of Mischief Theatre’s ‘Goes Wrong' style of comedy permeates the production, with deliberate missteps such as lines and sound effects out of sync, slapstick, misfiring props, and hasty costume changes. This chaotic blend of elements seamlessly comes together, injecting the performance with abundant energy.
The Time Machine - a Comedy is one of the funniest shows in town. It offers a refreshing change from ongoing pantomimes, providing an evening of pure nonsense and light-hearted fun. The two-hour journey of absurdity and silliness is recommended for those who seek unadulterated enjoyment. The play's final mashup of B*Witched’s ‘C’est La Vie’ and The Importance of Being Earnest serves as a fittingly bizarre conclusion to an unforgettable theatrical experience. Audiences may find themselves scratching their heads but will definitely leave the theatre with a smile on their faces.
The Time Machine - a Comedy plays at Park200 until 30 Dec. For more information and tickets, follow the link here.
AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Manuel Harlan