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The Time Machine - Royal and Derngate Review

Reviewed by Mark Johnson
Tickets were gifted in return for an honest review.

Sometimes theatre is so madcap you just have to simply sit back, give in and completely embrace everything. This is the best way to enjoy Original Theatre’s touring production of The Time Machine which has recently been nominated for an Olivier Award.

George Kemp as George. Photo by Mark Douet.

The production is (very) loosely based on the H G Wells novel and is set through the guise of a performing trio who are hoping to stage the production, with a whole one venue booked for their tour. 

You have scriptwriter George, played by George Kemp, who is determined to keep things on track and to the script. There’s Michael, played by Michael Dylan, who has the unenviable job of trying to explain time travel and at this performance Noah (usually Amy played by Amy Revelle) played by understudy Noah Marullo, who is a big Cher fan and weaves in his own tributes throughout the show.

The script by Steven Canny and John Nicholson battles with itself at times, whilst it’s undoubtedly chock full of later the first act does feel more stilted and held back by having to deliver the story which is quite complex at times. Some of the time travel chats whooshes over the audiences minds and the repetitive scenes and jokes do not always land. 

The second act is much more freer and loose with plenty of audience interaction with a few brought up to stage to play their own important part of driving the plot forwards. The chaotic scenes that ensue give for much hilarity as audience member improvise their moments. The company even superbly navigated a heckler in the latter moments which could have easily derailed everything.

Michael Dylan as Michael. Photo by Mark Douet

George Kemp steers the ship superbly with madcap energy, ever driving up frustration for the other two as his insists on his play being performed and reaching its conclusion. 

Michael Dylan has a great time ramping up the comedy of the character with plenty of facial expressions that are hilarious on their own. Michael is the centre to the plot that unfolds in the second half and his emotions are delivered brilliantly. 

Noah Marullo stands in with ease and is excellent. He performs script in hand, though it’s often hard to tell if he actually needs this. Fitting in well Noah has a great presence and feels natural in the role. 

By its conclusion I left the theatre a little discombobulated by what I’d witnessed, simply it all must be seen to be enjoyed and its trio of outstanding performances delight in their comedic delivery. It’s wonderfully silly stuff.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ .5

The Time Machine plays at Royal and Derngate until Saturday 30th March. Tickets are available from The tour concludes at Leeds Playhouse where it plays from 2nd until 6th April. 
Tickets are available from

A recording of the production is available to stream through Original Theatre’s website. Find out more from

Michael Dylan and George Kemp. Photo by Mark Douet 

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