The Time Travellers Wife

The Time Travellers Wife is a musical based on the book by Audrey Niffenegger which tells of Henry who time travellers due to a rare genetical condition and his wife Clare who remains constant and meets him not only on the correct timeline but at various other points in her life. Henry spends his time trying to get back to Clare and Clare spends her life waiting for him to return to her.

The book by Lauren Gunderson has its work cut out, trying to make the audience understand Henry’s time line. The mood of the show is hard to decipher, it is difficult to know if Henry and Clare are a great romance or if they are toxic. Equally there are a lot of big themes briefly touched on in the show such as grief, alcohol addition, mental health and miscarriages but resolved in the blink of an eye. The book also struggles that we are told abut their relationship a lot more than we witness them falling for each other due to the focus on the impact that the time travelling has on Henry and Clare and how they consequently spend a lot of time alone on stage. However despite this the book does hold my interest throughout and I gradually became invested in their future and how they would pan out.

The other issue that the book has to deal with is that from the age of 28 Henry starts visiting a pre-teen Clare and reappears throughout her childhood until she hits the age of 17, including beating up a boy from her school. Nothing untoward happens in these meetings but it is still uncomfortable to watch these scenes sandwiched between their wedding and them trying for children together.

The music by Joss Stone and Dave Stewart is pleasant and whilst some of the music is enjoyable it is not a cast recording that I would rush to put on after the show and is fundamentally forgettable. The music fails to leave any refrains in the mind and often it feels like for the most part the show would be as successful as a play.

David Hunter leads the cast as Henry and he is charismatic as always in the role and his voice suits the songs, although often you feel that Hunter could sing anything and the hair on your arms would stand up. Joanna Woodward plays Clare and she does a good job of being the the central timeline of the show, bring the audience along with her. They are supported by a strong cast who between them play numerous figures from Henry and Clare’s life.

The effects are clever with Henry disappearing in the blink of an eye however the highlight of the show is the opening of Act 2 in which Hunter sings Journeyman, in amongst a plethora of stunning projections whilst being lifted and manoeuvred around the stage by fellow cast members to give the impression of him appearing and reappearing throughout time. The projections throughout the show by Andrzej Goulding and Anna Fleischle give the show a romantic feel and tie in beautifully with Clare’s profession as a paper artist along with the literary origin of the show.

The Time Travellers Wife is a pleasant show with an interesting plot combined with a beautiful design that is a feast for the eyes. However merged with a forgettable score and a book that has some problems to overcome the show is enjoyable but not one I would travel back in time to see.

The Time Travellers Wife is running until 24th February. To find out more and book tickets visit their website.

If you like this review you might also like Operation Mincemeat, Six and Les Miserables.

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