THE ELUSIVE but seductive concept of time travel is the focus of a new one-man production of HG Wells' The Time Machine.
The year is 1985 and in a suburban garden, beneath a waning moon, a man lies dazed beside a remarkable machine. He has a story to tell. An unbelievable story about the future that he insists is true.
Is it a joke, a prophecy, a dream?
The Time Machine first popularised the concept of time travel in literature and has influenced generations of subsequent writers and artists.
The machine itself is the forerunner of Dr Who's Tardis, Marty McFly's DeLorean and Hawkwind's Silver Machine.
The book has inspired dozens of sequels, spin-offs and comic book adaptations, has been filmed twice by Hollywood and has retained a prominent position in the public imagination, even if much of Wells's original narrative has been forgotten.
Now this classic of science fiction is brought thrillingly and vividly to life by Robert Lloyd Parry of the Nunkie Theatre Company in a new, one-man show that returns to the brilliantly imaginative, ground- breaking original source.
Lloyd Parry is perhaps best known for his spellbindingly eerie retellings of the ghost stories of M R James. He recently played the author in Mark Gatiss' documentary Ghost Writer shown on national television on Christmas Day.
In contrast to Nunkie's simply staged, atmospheric productions of James's supernatural tales, The Time Machine features a full-sized realisation of the machine itself: a giant metronome designed and built by Factory Settings Ltd, which created many of the giant props used in the 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony. It enables Lloyd Parry's inventor to travel deep into the future where he discovers the sinister changes that have been wrought by the intervening millennia on human civilisation.
The Time Machine is at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre's Met Studio next Thursday, May 29, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12/£10 concessions and are available on 01785 254653 or by visiting www.staffordgatehousetheatre .co.uk.