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A riotous retelling of the epic and world-famous novel by H.G. Wells.

Fast-paced and wise-cracking, this is an adaptation like no other. When the world of science fiction and science facts collide, extraordinary things can happen.

Expect the most surprising and unforeseen consequences as a multi-talented cast bring H.G. Wells’ beloved story to life, zipping from the present day to a Victorian parlour in 1895 to the end of the world, with many mind-boggling stops in between.

This hilarious roller coaster ride of a show and a brilliant new take on a classic science fiction novella comes from the writers of the smash hit 2021 comedy The Hound of the Baskervilles. 

Original Theatre present THE TIME MACHINE – A Comedy Written by Steven Canny & John Nicholson (Very) loosely adapted from the novel by HG Wells Directed by Orla O’Loughlin Direct from its London run, the must-see comedy of 2023 hits the road this Spring!

H G Wells’ comic deadly serious masterpiece will never be the same again as a hapless highly skilled group of actors embark on a journey of a lifetime!

Will they be able to defeat the space time paradox – or at least get through the second half? All to be revealed…….* * (no nudity!)

From the team behind the smash hit comedy The Hound of the Baskervilles and the award-winning Original Theatre (Murder in the Dark, The Mirror Crack’d, Caroline’s Kitchen, Invincible, The Habit of Art.

Watch our interview with actor Michael Dylan who talks about the comedy play when it was originally on stage in April 2023 at The Octagon Bolton.


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Our review on THE TIME MACHINE - A Comedy

The Time Machine - A Comedy - The Lowry, Salford - Wednesday 24th January 2024 by Karen Ryder

Our Rating

Tonight is my second night of an Original Theatre take over at the Lowry Theatre and I’m going from psychological thriller to side splitting comedy.  I am of course talking about the corker of a show that is The Time Machine – A Comedy.  I saw this brilliantly indescribable production last year, and it is still a knock out, unique night of the best kind of bonkers out there.  You’ll never look at time the same way again.  In fact, there are plenty of things you’ll never look at the same way again after watching this show!  It is so fast paced that you may just meet yourself coming back, unless of course that would squish some time travel continuum, paradoxy kind of thing.  But never fear, for The Time Machine – A Comedy will not only explain all that science stuff to you via popular culture references and Eastenders style duff duff cliffhangers, it will also give you a mini taster of The Importance Of being Ernest, fiercely funny farcical moments, and a chance to be a part of the show for yourself!

This cast of three, comprised of George Kemp, Michael Dylan and Amy Revelle, have to be amongst the hardest working performers out there.  Their dedication and love of the show shines through with every detail, every move, and every moment, making it so easy for us to sit back, relax, and howl with uncensored laughter.  Anyone watching this show is in for a treat.  But how to describe it……….ermmmmmmmm, I mean I’ll give it a go.  Three friends have formed a theatre company and are in rehearsals for The Importance Of being Ernest, but George discovers family heirlooms that belonged to his Great Great Grandad HG Wells.  He claims they provide proof that his novel, The Time Machine was based on fact, not fiction, and he sets out to prove it via a new play that he has written.  He cajoles his somewhat unwilling friends to switch plays, but it all goes a little bit wrong and George finds himself in the future where something so bad happens that they have to find a way to break the paradoxes of the past.  If only they had been more careful with the stage props, if only they’d let Amy sing Cher, and if only they’d had that light PAT tested, then maybe the friends wouldn’t find themselves Irish Dancing to Bewitched in the middle of Salford!  Who knows?  Only time will tell.     

A large clock dominates the otherwise blank stage, which invites a plethora of props, scenery, and costumes to join the madness throughout the show.  A velvet chaise long, flip charts, a drinks cabinets, a time travelling chair, muppets, Morlocks, a pizza delivery, and Harry The Duke Of Sussex are some of the more sane things you’ll find randomly popping up in this production!  Throw in explosions, dry ice, hypnotic flashes, dodgy broken scenery that creates its own jokes, and you’re still only getting the tip of the iceberg as to the depth of creativity behind this show.  Even the interval music is thought out in its entirety, with fitting songs that not only play a part in the entire theme, but will have you humming and bopping along too.

The chaotically brilliant cast is made up of George Kemp (Bridgerton, One Man Two Guvnors), Michael Dylan (Wilf, One Man Two Guvnors, Outlander), and Amy Revelle (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, When Women Wee).  What a triumphant trio they are.  I have no idea where their unwavering energy comes from but if we could just bottle it and have a drop each day, well the world would be a much happier place.  Instantly aimable, you feel a part of their world.  You are wrapped in a big squishy hug that could equally turn into a conga at any given moment!  The camaraderie is palpable and generously shared with us as the audience, so that when we are invited to join in, you feel entirely safe to do so.  The entire cast multi roles, delivering a cacophony of characters from juicy and goofy parodies, to the heartfelt and classic period roles.  This is The Time Machine after all so no character is out of bounds as a possibility, meaning that what starts out as three friends wanting to perform a show can welcome folk from Victorian times, to Miss Piggy, Royalty, soap stars, and Morlocks!  And who knew that Oprah herself had a time machine too!  Amidst the chaos, there are equally beautiful moments, such as the one where we are called upon as an audience to help make it rain.  It is a simple yet stunning moment of theatre at its best. 

George Kemp
charms the audience from the off and presents his character as an all round theatre hero who does every job possible from writing to directing, acting and producing, believing he is just that little bit better than everyone else.  His ability to speak directly to the audience in character and connect with us is a driving force of the show and proves to be of vital importance.  It is done with such a natural ease that you are hooked.  Brilliant timing, physical comedy and a little bit of cheeky charm warm us to his character, even when we should probably want to shake him!  And his realisations right at the end towards Michael are touchingly beautiful.

Michael Dylan brings us a character who is an actor trapped in a wannabe scientist’s body.  He is passionately excitable about scientific facts and is so bouncy and enthusiastic to share his love with his best friends.  He is side splittingly funny with the capability to make you belly laugh and uncontrollably cry with laughter one minute, then take your breath away and shed an emotional and genuinely heart felt tear the next.  Dylan will make you feel all the feels, leave you in awe with his comic genius, and blow your mind with his goosebump rendition of the Hamlet soliloquy.  He can talk to you or land a joke without saying a word for his reactions alone are priceless.  Amy Revelle is a force to be reckoned with and presents us with a character who is strong, zany, creatively intelligent and won’t be pushed around.  Her character work is so on pointe that I’m sure she must have been an impersonator in a previous timeline.  She is fast paced, a fabulous singer, and brilliantly bonkers, whilst somehow managing to maintain an element of authority.  In the midst of all this, her talent is such that she still manages to land important messages regarding friendship, loyalty and determination.  And her Cher is more Cher than Cher!!         

Directed by the irrepressible Orla O’Loughlin, this challenging play taken from a serious classic work of fiction and turned into a comedic farce, was never in any danger of ever becoming anything than the delight it is.  She has deliciously soaked up every intricate nuance of the intelligent and witty script by Steven Canny and John Nicholson and presented a giddy, whirlwind of a show without ever being disrespectful to the original source.  The entire creative team of Original Theatre should be applauded for their vision in taking on an existential narrative and paying homage to it whilst simultaneously standing up to gloom, despair and misery with an infectious optimism and fabulous flair.  She has placed such respectful trust in the cast, who pay it forward and put their trust in us as an audience, making the whole show ironically tick along like the perfect clock.  There is a solidarity and reassurance in the unknown and she sets the whole production alight with a fizz of joie de vivre.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Steven Canny and John Nicholson have put an Original Theatre Company stamp on yet another classic and created an entirely new hybrid of theatre.  Their ideas truly are original and challenge everyone involved, resulting in the most enjoyable entertainment there is.  This is the kind of show for everyone, that you can watch and enjoy with family, friends, and just have an evening of bonding through laughter.  What a gift.  And yet through the unadulterated humour, they still manage to retain subtle echoes of Wells’ explorations, such as the downsides to pushing the boundaries of technology which is so relevant even today with the debates surrounding AI. 

The Time Machine – A Comedy is a night at the theatre that won’t disappoint.  And if by some remote chance it were to disappoint you, then you’re not the kind of person it is aimed at and probably won’t have read this far anyway, so won’t even be thinking of going along, ergo you couldn’t therefore be disappointed, so we’re all still on the same page anyway.  That logic makes sense to me and fits right into this mad cap world of time travel.  But what is so wonderful about this show is that it understands how to balance the fun with heart, and really packs a punch with its message about friendship, loyalty, and living life to your own truth.  It stares mortality in the face and takes it on with a song, some breadsticks, and a plan of action.  It tells us that we don’t have to give up, we can be presented with the worst of situations and still have a choice in how we face it.  Do we wait for the inevitable, or do we dance?  I choose to dance, so thank you to all at The Time Machine – A Comedy for reminding us that even when life can be a bit pants, there’s always room for laughter.  



Our review on THE TIME MACHINE - A Comedy

The Time Machine - The Octagon, Bolton - Wednesday 12th April 2023 by Karen Ryder

Our Rating

The Time Machine!  I’m not entirely sure how to describe this play as it defies explanation.  It is utterly mind-boggling, brilliant, and chaotic in all the best possible ways.  How to give a succinct description when it is sheer chaos, bamboozlement, and hilarity throughout?  The thrill of attending a show where anything can happen is always an adrenaline hook for me, and I was not disappointed.  It’s science fiction meets science fact with bizarre consequences as three friends get caught up in a journey through time on a time travelling chair.  It is also a play within a play as the characters ditch their rehearsals for The Importance of Being Ernest when Dave decides that the said chair, a chair once owned by H. G Wells himself, who also happens to be Dave’s ancestor, is actually the real deal!  Are you keeping up?  Good.  Things take on many a twist and turn, and we soon find ourselves in the year 802701 on an entirely different mission, one of life or death!  Wellsian themes from the original novel are alluded to as the friends travel to a world driven by class conflict and grapple with their own desires, which include the desire to perform Cher songs!  The characters learn (as do the audience) to simply expected the unexpected, go with the flow, watch out for Morlocks, and to watch out for Amy! 

There are jibes from the characters that in trying to adapt the H.G Wells book for the stage, there’s an awful lot of boring bits that they kind of want to skip over.  So, whilst the general idea of time travel is indeed at the heart of this production, and as already mentioned, there are quite a few nods to Wellsian themes and Morlocks, this is not an adaptation of the original book, and nor does it claim to be.  It is an idea taken from the book that writers Steven Canny and John Nicholson have put an Original Theatre Company stamp on and created an entirely new and ingenious show.  However, many of Wells’ themes still ring true today such as the danger of technology and the fact that as humans, despite this technology, we still haven’t been able to dodge our own mortality.  There are some really sciencey, physicy-whizzicy explanations about continuums, paradoxes and such like, that for someone like me, make sense when I hear them, but then my mind is immediately blown, and I forget the simplest of things such as the fact that my water bottle was actually orange juice and become confused as to what on earth I’m was drinking!  Sadly, this really happened!  But these science bits are actually great and make sure that all forms of audience life are satisfied, from the farce lovers to the fact lovers.


A large clock dominates the otherwise blank stage, which awaits a plethora of props, scenery, and costume to be brought on as and when needed.  These easily depict the era, the scene, the time, from a Victorian drawing room which links us to the H.G Wells original story, to a chequered cloth covered table for Michael’s date.  The costumes switch from period clothing, to contemporary, to the intentionally unfathomable and with some cracking wigs, hats, and muppets thrown in (yes muppets), you just never know what is around the next timeline.  Fred Meller (design), Colin Grenfell (lighting) and Greg Clarke (sound) can take great delight in their combined work creating a brilliant atmosphere, whilst depicting the ridiculously difficult concept of time travel through hilarious and mad methods.  Explosions, flashes, collapsing scenery, dry ice, fog machines and back lit props all play an equal part in the performance, and it highlights that the cast and creatives have to be perfectly in sync and full of faith and trust in each other’s timing for any of it to work.  Even the background music provided prior to the show and during the interval is carefully thought out.  I’ll let you listen out for these gems yourself.

The cast is made up of Dave Hearn (Founding member the Olivier Award-winning Mischief Theatre, The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery), Michael Dylan (Winner of the Stage Edinburgh Award for Acting Excellence 2022, One Man Two Guvnors, Muppets Most Wanted, Outlander), Amy Revelle (When Women Wee, The Rounds, Black Or White Coffee) and Noah Marullo (Tracy Beaker Returns, The Dumping Ground, Free Agents).  Hearn, Dylan and Revelle are the main trio and are like Duracell bunnies on a sugar high on Christmas morning.  Their energy, enthusiasm and excitement are infectious, and their likeability lures you into their world, making the audience amenable to all their requests.  Hearn is so at home on the stage and this chaotic environment.  It was a real treat watching him in this cosy theatre space.  He comfortably guides us through the evening, with a cheeky smile here, a “what the?!!!!!” look there, and a relaxed banter with the audience throughout.  His comedic timing is priceless, and he has the capability to land a joke without saying a word.  He is comedic and improv heaven. 

Dylan plays the fall guy perfectly.  He speaks a thousand words with his facial expressions and his rendition of a Hamlet soliloquy was not only impressive and heart wrenching, it solidified why he is an award winning actor.  He had the hearts of the audience with him and even though the plot of the second half was hilarious, he was able to remind us of its deeper theme, without making anyone miserable.  And Revelle!  Is there anything she can’t do?  She is funny, brilliant at creating such distinct and different characters, sings Cher like, well Cher, and represents womens strength and power to a tee!  Her ability to multi role, which all the actors do, is incredible, effortlessly switching it up from a Victorian societal Lady, to an Eastender, to Miss Piggy, to Meghan of the Markle.  She creates hilarious caricatures for us all to share a joke over.  Marullo may have a much smaller role, but he is so convincing in it that you’ll be forgiven for not even noticing he is an actor in the show, and when you’ve seen it, you’ll understand I mean that as a compliment.  You may however find him in the foyer at the end of the show hanging out with Brian Cox!  I kid you not!    

Orla O’Loughlin must have the brain of a mad hatter to have conceived the direction of this production, and that makes her my kind of person!  The energy created is palpable, infectious, and allows us to throw logic out of the window, ensuring a carefree and excitable vibe throughout.  The trust and respect she has given the actors is a credit to them all and to her, allowing a sense of anticipation throughout.  Even greater is the fact that you don’t really know what it is you’re anticipating, but you’re excited for its arrival!

The best thing about The Time Machine is possibly the powerful trust and skill between the cast and creatives as they guide us through a show that has the very real potential to go completely wrong.  If audiences refused to join in, their show doesn’t work in the way it’s meant to.  So, it is with complete respect and awe that I hero worship Hearn, Dylan, and Revelle for putting their trust in each other, but also in us as an audience.  And because they are all so approachable, aimable and alluring, you want to help them out.  You want to take part.  You want the show to succeed.  Even when the show ‘goes wrong,’ it is done so right, with technical issues, dialogue that ends up in the wrong order, and props falling over being timed to perfection.  The second half is where things really let lose!  The audience become the fourth character and boy did they get involved!  I won’t say how as I think it’s only fair you discover that joy for yourself.  But needless to say, throw in a Deliveroo, B*Witched, a Derren Brown type experience, Brian Cox, and a little bit more Cher, and you’re still only just scratching the tip off this time travelling, tantalizing tornado of a show!

The Time Machine team aren’t new to the Bolton Octagon, as their version of The Hound Of The Baskervilles smashed it there in 2021.  It’s written by Steven Canny and John Nicholson and presented by Original Theatre in association with New Wolsey Theatre.  This award-winning theatre company have been touring all over the UK since 2004, exciting, thrilling and engaging audiences with their hallmark zaniness and fearless originality.  

The Time Machine is not only mad cap fun, but actually has a beautiful message of strength in adversity, friendship and hope at its heart.  It shows that even when the worst happens, you don’t have to give up.  You can choose how to react, how to respond, and go out with a smile on your face and a beat boxing Irish jig in your heart.  How can I convince you to go and watch this wild, wonderful, witty and wise cracking show?  Well, I would travel back in time to the start of this show and watch it all over again tomorrow if that helps!  Luckily, the lack of such a machine hidden in my loft doesn’t actually matter, as this show will be cracking the funny bones of audiences until 22nd April, so I’ve got plenty of chance to grab all my pals, spread the word and watch it again.  Because trust me when I say this is one you will regret not seeing!

I took my dad, who is probably the least likely to attend a show that requires audience participation (unless it’s shouting out tips and advice to his football team on how they should be playing) but he loved it and felt perfectly safe that he wasn’t going to be ‘picked on.’  The Time Machine defies explanation, that is its USP, and the reason you will come out buzzing.  It is full of belly laughs, absurdity, and will have you ugly laughing to the point that you won’t even care!  Your jaw will ache from smiling, your heart will sing with joy, and your mind will wonder what on earth just happened, but you’ll know that whatever it was, you’re glad you were there for it. 




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