The Time Machine

"This snigger-inducing script is a light-hearted, laugh-a-minute show'”

The Time Machine is a play written by Steven Canny and John Nicholson. This quick witted duo have scribed a comedy of errors which is loosely based on H G Well’s Time Machine and it’s brimming with bonkers and bizarre shenanigans. Under the direction of Orla O’Loughlin, this snigger-inducing script is a light-hearted, laugh-a-minute show currently playing at North London’s Park Theatre until 30th December. I’ve been waiting for a show like this for ages, It’s about time! 

The bright green set centres around a giant clock which is the biggest one I’ve seen onstage - hands down! There are glitzy green accessories dotted around and a matching green chaise-lounge used throughout that accentuates the camp ‘Wizard of Oz’ feel. There were lots of fun props, helping to spoon feed the storyline to us so we could just happily sit back and laugh. The great thing about seeing a show at the Park Theatre is that you’re guaranteed a good view no matter where you sit. 

We kicked off with a planned ‘technical error’ immediately setting the jovial atmosphere and letting the audience know this is not a show that takes itself seriously. 

The small cast was made up of three very likeable actors smoothly navigating themselves through a plethora of costumes, various set changes and a range of characters and accents. They broke the fourth wall numerous times giving another set of gags on top. The energetic trio Michael, Amy and Dave commanded the audience with their the clever wordplay and comic timing in this silly, sarcastic, play within a play.

To make the time-travel moments clear, the creatives used sound FX paired with a full flash of stage lights, blasting the auditorium with white. It worked really well, so much so that I guess you could say it went like clockwork.

The second act shifts its focus to audience participation and becomes about using the viewers to help prevent Michael’s pending death. It’s a very inclusive concept which hilariously involves us in every step.

The show has lots of great moments, including a parody dance break, Cher-eoke, streamers and even guest appearances from Kermit and Miss Piggy!

I think my favourite moment was when we all created the sound of rain to begin Michaels soliloquy. I also really enjoyed the flickers of depth that presented themselves in fleeting references of sexism, inequality and misogyny.

During Dave’s ‘A Trick’ skit, I wanted the pauses to be even longer. It’s an amusing moment and I think there’s room to egg it even more. Also, there were some questionable characters, for example the futuristic Weena and Madaslava who came on looking like they had both just raided a bin next to a fancy dress shop. 

At points the narrative was a little bit confusing. It was easy to get lost with all the comedy chaos, however on reflection, this doesn’t matter too much as for a nonsensical piece, it’s a very engaging, well orchestrated farce. The Time Machine is certainly a chuckle a minute and the enjoyable light-hearted humour is perfect for a night out with friends and family.

I’m still not 100% sure what I witnessed on stage however I know that it was silly, sarcastic and cleverly idiotic. This play about time travel will make you hungry for more and wanting to go back four seconds! 

Overall, it’s a show you won’t be able to stopwatch-ing.

This show was reviewed on the 5th December 2023.  The Time Machine runs at the Park Theatre, London until the 30th December 2023.  Tickets available here; The Time Machine - A Comedy | Projects | Park Theatre

Review written by Jasmine Alice

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Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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