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Audio Drama Review


The Time Machine


Starring: Robert Glenister, William Gaunt, Gunnar Cauthery and Donnla Hughes
BBC Audio
RRP: £10.34
ISBN: 978 1 4084 0972 5
Available 06 August 2009

H.G. Wells's thrilling story of an inventor who travels in time and discovers a nightmarish dystopian future opens in 1943, when Wells is recording a talk for the Home Service in which he questions mankind's future. After the broadcast, he spends the evening with American journalist Martha, and tells her the astonishing news that his best selling book The Time Machine was not fantasy but fact. Wells explains that he was actually present at the dinner party in Richmond fifty years earlier, when the Time Traveller returned from his first fateful journey into the future. He reveals to Martha the full story of the Time Traveller's encounter with the Eloi and the Morlocks - and what really happened to him afterwards...

Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 22 February 2009, this full-cast dramatisation of H. G. Wells's pioneering science fiction adventure stars Robert Glenister as the Time Traveller and William Gaunt as H. G. Wells. The Time Machine has been adapted several times for TV and film, but surprisingly this is the first ever UK radio adaptation.

The worth was certainly worth the wait, as this dramatisation beautifully brings to life the familiar story, but goes further than the original novel by having Wells explain that the events were based on true events and that he was actually witness to the time traveller and his amazing adventure. So the story doesn't end the same way as the book, but instead goes onto explain what happens to the descendents of the Eloi and the Morlocks even further into the future.

I couldn't help but think that whoever was responsible for the sound design was a huge Star Wars fan. The background chatter of the Eloi sound like Ewoks, while the grunts of the Morlock sound very similar to those of the Tusken Raiders (aka Sand People). And while we're on the subject of sound, Jon Nicholls's music composition goes a great way to heightening the mood and emotions of this production.

This CD release also includes an introductory sleeve note recounting the making of the radio adaptation, written by producer Jeremy Mortimer.

From start to finish this audio production will have you hooked. A great way for the young to be aquatinted with one of Wells's greatest stories.


Darren Rea

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