Reviewed by Nikki Cotter
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Based on the best selling novel by Audrey Niffenegger and the film screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin, The Time Travellers Wife takes the leap into musical theatre and does so with unquestionable style.
Pop legends Dave Stewart and Joss Stone have linked up to create the music and lyrics, gifting the piece with soulful melodies and deeply layered numbers that drive and develop the story beautifully.
Portraying a tale about a time traveller could quite easily become confusing & chaotic, not here; this slick production with its clear storytelling and impressive design translates into something that’s hugely impressive and emotionally resonant.
David Hunter takes on the role of Henry, a time traveller who has no control over when or where he’ll be ripped out of the present and pulled into his past or maybe even his future. Hunter is superb in the role, every disappearance and reappearance is more impressive than the last, he’s right before your eyes one moment then appears at the opposite side of the stage in a completely different costume the next. This is a truly demanding role which he pulls off with ease & heaps of charm.
Joanne Woodward is perfectly cast as Clare. She gives the character depth and complexity while making her instantly likeable, showing both strength and vulnerability. The chemistry between the two is wonderful, their voices gel together so beautifully, lifting Stone and Stewart’s lyrics to the next level. You desperately want happiness for this duo as they portray the multi-layered characters with pure heart.
Tim Mahendran and Hiba Elchikhe add to the fun of the piece as bickering but hopelessly devoted Gomez and Charisse while as Henry’s Father, Ross Dawes makes sure his featured scene packs an emotional punch.
The set design, projections and illusions elevate this production far beyond a love story. They are thrilling, surprising and absolutely stunning. Journeyman which opens Act 2 is something very special, acting as real showcase as complex choreography, incredible vocals and impressive technology combine. Designers Anna Fleischle, Lucy Carter, Andrzej Goulding, Richard Brooker and illusionist Chris Fisher have ensured that the time travelling elements have been treated with the care they deserve, and the results are simply magical, with constant surprises keeping the audience on their toes from start to finish.
This ambitious production directed by Bill Buckhurst succeeds entirely, the technology is matched by a cast at the top of their game while the clear storytelling captivates completely. The Time Traveller’s Wife is a superb addition to musical theatre, with I hope, a long future ahead. Filled with love, heart and hope, this stunning new musical is a total triumph.
The Time Traveller’s Wife is on at Chester’s Storyhouse until Saturday 15th October tickets available here.