Venue : Lowry Studio
Start date: 27th June 2013
End date : 29th June 2013
Visit date : 29th June, 2013
When Mr Monkey found out that Mr Robert Lloyd Parry of the Nunkie Theatre was expanding his repertoire from M.R. James' ghost stories to The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, he made his humans book tickets almost immediately. As a result one Saturday afternoon he found himself in the front row of the Studio at the Lowry Centre.
The Time Machine was H.G. Wells' first longish story, though it's quite short compared with most modern books. First published in 1895, it's mostly the personal account of a scientist who has gone forward in time.
The action of the piece all takes place in a garden at night, so there is little scenery needed just a bird bath, a watering can and what appears to be a giant metronome lying on its side in the middle. During the performance the metronome becomes more or less anything that Mr Lloyd Parry says it is - a hill, a deep shaft leading to underground tunnels, a building - as well as being the Time Machine.
While he was waiting for the start Mr Monkey wondered if Mr Lloyd Parry was hiding inside the Time Machine. Moments later the lights dimmed and the Time Traveller, clad only in all-encompassing Victorian underwear and a ferocious beard, burst out of the machine to tell his tale of misfortune and the twilight of humanity.
The Time Traveller's story is closely based on the main section of Wells' story, with a few modifications to make it sound more as if it really is being told by someone who has recently had appalling experiences, rather than someone giving a lecture about some appalling experiences a friend told them about.
Mr Lloyd Parry uses the whole stage, scampering and capering and physically recreating his adventures.
He perfectly portrays the slightly self-important Time Traveller, who starts off rather piqued that the effete and vacant people of the future don't appreciate the effort he's made to come and visit them, and who later is very upset when their brutish cousins take altogether too much interest in him. Mr Monkey found being sat in the front row quite disconcerting at times.
Going by the people sitting around Mr Monkey at the Lowry, who seemed to be equally divided between people who'd read the book and people who had not, the performance is equally enjoyable whether or not you are familiar with the story. Mr Monkey thinks the Nunkie production of the The Time Machine is well worth seeing.
The Time Machine was on at the Lowry from 27th to 29th June, and is on at the Harrogate Theatre on the 12th and 13th July 2013.