Pros: The abundance of Tims on stage!
Cons: A couple of disconcerting blackouts.
This is not a conventional one-person show. There’s indeed just one man on stage, and that’s Tim (Tim Chapman). But we also have two more Tims, albeit not flesh and blood ones. To everyone’s amusement, Tim 2 and Tim 3 are… audio speakers!
As human Tim let us know during an enjoyable introduction to his show, this is all about him. The combination of two Tim speakers and a human Tim might sound as confusing as the Holy Trinity but it’s actually not that bad. The thing is that “one Tim simply isn’t enough”. And if it wasn’t already clear, the two speaker Tims talk.
The plot: Tim and Tims are driving on the road when they find a town with the name of Timchester (obviously). Inside a pub called The Smokey Chimney, to his amusement Tim finds that everyone knows him. Not only that, they also treat him like a hero. The only odd detail is that instead of Tim, they call him Mit (that’s right, Tim read backwards). Tim then finds out that a woman, using a mask with his face, has been performing all sorts of heroic deeds for the Timchesterians. Tim and Mit agree that Tim can take all the glory whilst Mit keeps saving the day. However, Tim starts getting too demanding and arrogant so Mit, Tim 2 and Tim 3 start a rebellion…
An Abundance of Tims is a full hour of the finest entertainment with plenty of comedy and a witty script – both the product of Tim Chapman’s talent. His charming performance draws our attention from the first minute until the very end. The story is original and offers a compelling perspective on the theme of metatheatre and self-reflection within theatre. The pre-recorded audio is another piece of brilliant performance and evokes actual actors on stage.
Alexander Hick’s direction is simply wonderful. The dialogue coordination between human Tim and the two speaker Tims are spot on. Further, the light and sound effects are integral to the perfectly executed dramatic effects and the engaging atmosphere. There are a couple of blackouts which I found disconcerting and maybe a wee too long, but since they are filled with some waggish jokes they weren’t a great bother.
Tim Chapman success in making An Abundance of Tims a very entertaining, original and interesting exercise in metatheatre, wherein playwright and characters get mixed together and authorship is challenged by rogue protagonists. It also leaves a door open to a wide variety of interpretations, from literary to political. The choice of Victoria Bastable for Mit’s voice was an excellent decision as it provokes examination into women’s role in history and its appropriation by a victorious male voice which always wrote the official account. This reading might sound far-fetched and could well not be the intended one but the multi-layered content of the play leaves an open field to all sorts of interpretations, and I think that is meritorious.
To immortalise the night, one member of the audience jumped onto the stage at the end of the play to take a selfie with Tim. But which Tim, you might be wondering? One of the speaker Tims!
Author: Tim Chapman
Director: Alexander Hick
Producer: Shephard Tone Theatre
Booking Until: 30 March 2018
Box Office: 020 8050 3025
Booking Link: https://www.breadandrosestheatre.co.uk/an-abundance-of-tims.html