The Scientific Romance Theatre Company has done something interesting in bringing HE Wells’ The Time Machine to the stage. Aimed at children aged 8 and older, the production targets a niche which is difficult to marry with children in 2018. It is for this reason the production feels necessary, it somehow feels pertinent that the appreciation of bygone days are understood. In achieving this within The Time Machine the appeal to every child’s imagination is possible.
The Time Machine is set in London in the 1890’s as the London Underground is being created. Children are eased into this unknown time easily, through fantastic puppetry. Introduced to The Time Traveller, an eccentric scientist keep to explore the future with his invention. The Time Machine moves him into the year 802,701 and immersed in a world with Eloi people and the darker Morlocks.
We explore 802,701 with Weena as our guide. The puppetry becomes stronger as different versions of Weena to move us through the story. Caught up in the action of trying to recover The Time Traveller’s time machine and return to seemingly safer times.
The three – strong cast enable us to experience the breadth of characters, utilising puppets with ease. Bringing comedy to balance any fear created through the adventure, the story paces along with ease. There is left the pondering of who is the audience for this piece.
Bringing HG Wells’ work to the stage feels ambitious. The audience of 8 and over feels right. Whilst there were younger children in the audience interest seemed to peak and wane throughout. At nine, I didn’t feel Seren was truly appreciative, yet The Time Machine kept her interest. It is more in the appreciation of the themes and the art on stage which leads to the conclusion the benefit of the piece will be felt most strongly with older children.
The Time Machine was at the Scottish Storytelling Centre as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Disclosure: We have media accreditation for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. All views and opinions contained are our own.