H.G. Wells’ classic novella has seen many an adaptation in the century or so since it was written, and each adaption has brought its own unique spin to re-imagining the story. Gone Rogue certainly brought their own flavour to it, while thankfully very much keeping the spirit of the original. It drew quite bit, I think, on the 2002 film adaptation for inspiration but still stood very much as its own entity and did enough to carve out its own place as an adaptation.
There was a mystical air to this performance that was very appealing, and easily able to suck an audience in to the time-travelling adventure. The manner in which the performers used their props, their stage, and their bodies all lent itself to a very immersive story-telling experience. The puppetry was perhaps the strongest aspect of this show, with the papier-mâché Morlocks, and the inventive foley used to produce their growls, making for a suitably disturbing creation. Via both simple and elaborate means, Gone Rogue really know how to effectively create atmosphere in theatre. The process by which the Time Machine itself came together, before the audience had quite realised what was happening is yet another example of how this show operated as an elegant machine. Additionally, the original music, composed by James Grantham, gave the play’s atmosphere that extra edge it needed and pleasingly underscored the action of many scenes.
In terms of acting, The Time Machine was blessed with a generally quite impressive cast. Alex Hill was entirely believable as the Time Traveller and though he may have occasionally pressed his part a little too hard, he gave an very engaging performance on the whole. Olivia Krauze in the roles of Elizabeth and Weena, provided the right amount of understated emotive power that allowed the show to tug at the heart on appropriate occasions. Flora Gault, as Mrs. Watchett, was very much the foundation of the piece, a solid and easy comic presence that kept the show anchored and tangible for the audience, punctuating the darker moments with necessary relief and reassurance. The remaining ensemble were faultlessly enthusiastic in their performances which played no small part in making this play so enjoyable to watch.
Fine justice was done to H. G. Wells with this production, with an obviously talented cast and crew, anyone of whom I’d be glad to see perform again.