Big Finish continue their outstanding dramatisations of the novels of HG Wells with perhaps his most famous and influential novel, The Time Machine. Originally appearing as a serial in 1895 (and later in novel form), Wells writes a tale about how humanity may evolve (or devolve).
Told through the framework of diary entries by a man known as Mr Wells, the unnamed time traveller sees the future of humanity and Earth via his machine. After encountering two distinct offshoots of humanity (the playful and childlike Eloi and the more intelligent but violent Morlocks) some 800,000 years in the future, he travels further in time and witnesses the slow death of the planet. His discoveries haunt him and the ending leaves no doubt that Wells has grave concerns for the future of our planet and race.
The tricky task of adapting this novel (which has minimal speaking roles) goes to veteran Doctor Who writer, Marc Platt. He draws on the original text heavily and creates an absorbing narrative that stays true to the original. He is helped by some wonderful casting and direction.
As the traveller, Ben Miles brings out the wonder and horror of his character. Nicholas Rowe as Mr Wells is his superb foil. He frames the story (as in the original text) and his dialogue with the traveller, who is full of empathy and wonder. They are both supported by some excellent casting in the minor roles (some of whom only need to grunt or giggle). The whole production is whisked along by the skilful direction of Ken Bentley.
Special mention must be made of the soundscape provided by Peter Doggart with music by the always excellent Howard Carter. These parts enhance the feel of the story and are as important as any of the speaking roles in a story such as this.
This adaptation is one of the finest so far in this series by Big Finish. It is faithful to the text and fans of the novel will delight in how vividly this story has been brought to life.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Rating out of 10: 9
Released by: Big Finish Productions
Release date: September 2017
RRP: $25.20 (CD), $12.99 (Download)