An Abundance of Tims – 3.5 Stars


An Abundance of Tims

Tristan Bates Theatre

Reviewed – 22nd April 2018


“refreshingly (and unashamedly) errs on the side of fun rather than Freud”


Tim Chapman is an emerging talent with experience in youth theatre, children’s theatre, improvisation and musicals, and here he is also the writer of “An Abundance of Tims”, a not quite autobiographical one-man show. It is the creation of Shepard Tone Theatre, a two-man company consisting of Tim Chapman himself and director, Alexander Hick, whose shared mission is unpretentious theatre that ‘you don’t need an arts degree to decipher’. True enough, what could have been a moral allegory on today’s issues concerning the dangers of identity on social media turns out to be a breezy display of verbal and technical wizardry.

Presented as intentional self-indulgence, Tim tells a story of mistaken identity in a small rural town, featuring himself as hero, himself twice more in the form of vocal recordings issuing from two portable speakers, and Mit, a mysterious female character who carries out heroic deeds while shunning the limelight, something Tim is happy to take on her behalf. The repartee between ‘live’ Tim, and the recorded Tims is generally well sustained throughout, with some good jokes and comic ideas, supplemented by imaginative twists and surprises.

The ingenuity of the script is compounded by a great lightness of touch in the banter between the ‘Tims’ which has a surreal sense of spontaneity despite the necessity for prerecording. For example, the three voices uncannily adapt their dialogue to allow for the existence of what appear to be onstage props for another production. However, the overall simplicity of this tale of an anti-superhero sags somewhat in the longer explanatory sections.

The performances, both by the ‘live’ Tim and those on the vocal recordings, are assured and engaging, though for a performance so reliant on technical precision the sound recordings could have been of higher quality. As director, Alexander Hick, does a better job of the lighting and staging, which manage to keep the story and the idea flowing right to the end, which arrives in a well-structured denouement as the ‘voices’ gradually get the upper hand, though there could be more material at the end to underline the ‘coup’.

An innovative production, “An Abundance of Tims” possibly misses an opportunity for the two audio Tims to have different characters or motivations but this show refreshingly (and unashamedly) errs on the side of fun rather than Freud. An hour’s entertainment passes with not too much in the way of emotional depth, but plenty of laughs.


Reviewed by Joanna Hetherington


An Abundance of Tims

Tristan Bates Theatre



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