Review: The Time Machine at the Octagon is ‘hilarious, original, and full of great gags’

The Time Machine at the Octagon has been described as a quirky and bizarrely fun production that reworks the story of H.G. Wells' famous novel.

The Time Machine at The Octagon is quirky and bizarrely fun, but does leave you wanting more If you are looking to see a stage adaptation which closely follows the source material of H.G. Wells novel, then I am afraid you will leave disappointed.

Instead, this show is a quirky comedy that is more of a reworking of the story.

This production follows three friends, one of which is the great-great-grandchild of H.G. Wells himself, played by Dave Hearn – who is brilliantly cast in the lead role.

After finding a box full of Wells old belongings from the story, the trio decide to re-in act The Time Machine for their own theatre company.

But whilst performing the play, they discover that The Time Machine prop they have been using is in fact real… The trio of Dave Hearn, Amy Revelle and Michael Dylan are all extremely talented.

There are certainly a lot of laugh out loud moments throughout the show where their quick wit and humour really shines through in both acts. The script by Steven Canny and John Nicholson allows the actors to take the show in a fun yet whacky direction.

You watch the actors hilariously perform as Harry and Meghan, plus Kermit The Frog and Miss Piggy, whilst they attempt to explain the ‘time paradox’ to the audience. Oh, and who can forget the Cher performance from Amy Revelle, who has some great vocals!

The show continuously breaks the fourth wall and there is a lot of audience participation, including one lucky audience member who gets to dress up as a Morlock.

There are also many continued gags and running jokes throughout which surprisingly work well. The first act is very enjoyable and it does leave you pleasantly surprised.

But unfortunately, the second act does fall short and somewhat loses momentum. Little is drawn from H.G. Wells original novel, which is fine in most part, because the show does go in another direction to the original book.

But this does leave you wanting more Science-fiction and exploration into the future Earth. Rather than watching a lot of problem-solving that does seem to lose pace.

If you are coming into this story blind, having not seen the movie nor read the book, you may find yourself confused. Though not much prior knowledge is needed, as the show is more about the concept of a play within a play and its own story, rather than the original The Time Machine book.

The second act does have pacing issues, but nonetheless, the talented cast of Hearn, Revelle and Dylan manage to carry you through, who are all really likeable and do well in keeping you invested in the overall story.

As the cast are so talented, however, the story does leave you wanting more to be done with them and have some of the more serious Sci-Fi questions surrounding the Time Machine explored.

It is worth mentioning Orla O’Loughlin’s direction is skilful and overall, this is an interesting retelling of the story.

The set and props used will all be familiar if you seen The Time Machine 1960 film, which was effective in immersing you into the story if you have.

With a little adjustment and better pacing, this Original Theatre production show feels like it could certainly work.

You can catch The Time Machine at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton until Saturday, April 22nd.

Get your tickets here.


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