Time and the Conways
- Amy Taylor
- 18 March 2013
Impressive performances in production that delays arrival at play's key material
The nature of time, identity and fallibility lie at the heart of JB Priestley’s Time and the Conways, a new co-production between the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company and the Dundee Rep Ensemble. Directed by Jemima Levick, and first written and performed in 1937, when Britain was facing a time of great economic and social uncertainty, teetering on the brink of the Second World War, this piece explores our attitudes to time, mistakes and the future, with startling results.
Beginning in 1919, when the well-off Conway family sets itself on a path that will lead to its destruction, Time and the Conways jumps between 1919 and 1937 to contrast and reflect on the changing fortunes of the family, especially that of the daughters, Kay (Emily Winter), Hazel (Jessica Tomchak) and Madge (Sally Reid).
Exploring similar themes as seen in arguably his most famous work, An Inspector Calls, Priestley’s Time and the Conways is one of his so-called ‘time plays’ and questions the very nature of time, regret and change. Featuring a stunning period set by Ti Green, Levick’s revival of this often overlooked play is a beautiful production that features a number of impressive performances from a talented cast. But Priestley’s script, and the lengthy first act – which takes far too long to get to the play’s innovative thoughts on human error and whether we can change our past mistakes – ultimately make it difficult to engage with.
Seen at the Royal Lyceum Theatre. At Dundee Rep, Dundee, until Sat 30 Mar.