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Published date: July 17, 2018
Last modified: July 17, 2018

The Time Machine – Lichfield Festival Review

Time stands still as HG Wells’ classic tale acted by one man

On the face of it, one man acting out HG Wells’ masterful story of The Time Machine with the help of just a few sound effects and limited lighting changes is a daunting prospect. But, happily for the audience at the Lichfield Garrick’s studio theatre, performer Stephen Cunningham succeeds with aplomb in this splendid Dyad Productions show, which was performed for one night only on July 12 as part of the 2018 Lichfield Festival.

The Time Machine

Dyad Productions, the previous creators of I, Elizabeth and Austen’s Women, have come up with a radical interpretation of the HG Wells classic, which was first published well over a century ago in 1895. The story is set in the year 1900 when a Victorian inventor tries out his time travelling device for the first time, and ends up hundreds of thousands of years in the future, in the year 802,701AD to be precise. There our time traveller finds two races of people who, it transpires, are both descended from humankind. In the Eloi, he discovers a peaceful race who are content to merely play and eat fruit. But he then finds out to his horror that the beautiful Eloi are being predated upon by the vicious white ape-like Morlocks who emerge from their subterranean world at night to drag off members of the Eloi to feed upon.

Lichfield Garrick

Against the backdrop of this tale, our time traveller ponders on how the human race has succumbed to this dual existence, where the Eloi have seemingly become cattle for the Morlocks, while remaining completely innocent of their savage and deadly fate. Despite the constraints and challenges faced by Cunningham in delivering a one-man version of The Time Machine, he stays perfectly faithful to HG Wells’ original masterpiece as he travels further into the future, to the apparent dying days of the planet. Unlike the 1960 film version of The Time Machine, which starred Rod Taylor, there is no happy ending. And nor should there be.

by Tony Collins (