To Move in Time
The Yard Theatre
Reviewed – 12th February 2019
“the effect is ultimately hypnotic rather than captivating”
To Move in Time is first on the bill for week five of Now 19, The Yard’s yearly festival in which it invites ten contemporary theatre makers at the top of their game to perform. The Yard is a theatre that, rightly, has a reputation for supporting new work and giving makers a platform to experiment and expose new stories and ways of telling them; a reputation matched by Tim Etchells and his collaborative team of thirty years standing, Forced Entertainment, in whose crucible To Move in Time was forged.
The piece was created with and for the performer Tyrone Huggins, and is an hour long monologue exploring the possibilities of time travel. We are invited to join Huggins in his mental wanderings as he repeatedly muses, ‘If I could travel in time….’. It’s a simple premise, in which theatre is stripped back to its story-telling core, and as such invites the audience to really focus on the words. This is a big ask, in a world of continual visual stimulation, and a necessary one too. But in order for it to work – for an audience to be held captivated for a full hour – both the tale and its teller need to be exceptionally bewitching. Unfortunately, both fell somewhat short on this occasion.
Tim Etchell’s monologue roots itself in our shared consciousness. When presented with time travel as a hypothetical option, most of us will have had similar ideas: of correcting historical mistakes – from remembering to press Save on the computer, to preventing the birth of Stalin; of playing practical jokes on our friends; of getting rich quick by placing bets on known outcomes. This familiarity, which is initially engaging, begins to lose its grip relatively quickly however, and the power of the words is reduced, giving the performance the status of an endless, slightly exhausting anecdote.
Similarly, Tyrone Huggins has a personable quality in performance, and a lovely speaking voice – gentle and mellow – but his tone is so even throughout, that the effect is ultimately hypnotic rather than captivating. There are moments of poetry – ‘If I could dissolve metal with my tears’ – but these are sadly few and far between, and, although the final few seconds have discernible magic, it feels too little too late.
Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw
Photography by Maurizio Martorana
To Move in Time
The Yard Theatre until 16th February as part of Now 19 Festival
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