Time After Time | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Time After Time 

Time After Time, New Millennium Theatre Company, at the Greenview Arts Center. Nicholas Meyer wrote and directed the 1979 film Time After Time, which spawned a novelization, which spawned John Mattera's stage adaptation. But Meyer isn't credited anywhere in this production. That's probably just as well: though the plot still concerns H.G. Wells traveling through time to track down Jack the Ripper and fall in love in contemporary America, much of what made Meyer's film such a delight is missing.

Absent are his fanciful, romantic touches; in their place are pervasive gloom and a disturbing misogyny--every contemporary female character here is far more hapless than a Victorian heroine, displaying less common sense and street smarts. Absent also are fine performers on the order of Malcolm McDowell, David Warner, and Mary Steenburgen, whose considerable charisma and conviction compensated for any gaps in the film's logic.

Lacking these assets, this New Millennium production makes it impossible to ignore the story's ridiculous coincidences and gaping holes: for example, if your time-traveling ability allowed you to know when and where your lover would be murdered, wouldn't you check her into the Hilton that day rather than wait around for the killer? The main trouble, however, is that the story is too flimsy to support any philosophical weight: what's effective as entertainment doesn't translate easily into high art. --Adam Langer

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