Synopsis: Every action has consequences. One confrontation, one punch, one bullet – something as simple as a gesture on a train – all can change the course of history.
British diplomat Dr Philip Raven knows the world is on a knife edge. But he is about to see how history might have played out differently. How there could be a better future for those who dare to grasp it.
An emissary from that future has come to show him… The Shape of Things to Come.
Review: HG Wells wrote The Shape of Things to Come as an alternate history, which is both the strength and the weakness of the text. Wells was uncannily prescient on many levels, and as an academian at heart, I appreciated the practical and theoretical scholarship he poured into his “History of the Future.” That said, it’s a freakishly dry work. There was no way to adapt it as is, even Wells thought so.
Guy Adams did the only things to be done. He retained the dream mechanism through which this history was related to diplomat Philip Raven as he read it in his sleep. However, he updated Raven to the present day, and changed the dream state to psychic projection from a divergent time line. Wells would’ve likely wondered why he hadn’t thought of those alterations himself.
The result is a script in which three-dimensional characters perceived events as life, not exposition. The superb cast then had real fuel for their performances. I was particularly moved by Arden Essende’s death, which was the individual encapsulation of the story’s themes.
I also appreciated how certain elements of the ending were implied, but not confirmed. That choice on Adams’ part offered commentary on the “dominant” timeline, while addressing all possible futures.
- You can purchase The Shape of Things to Come here.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Matt Fitton
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Written By: HG Wells, dramatised by Guy Adams
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman
Nicola Walker (Jane), Sam Troughton (Raven), Ewan Bailey (Arden Essende), Simon Greenall (Hooper Hamilton), Eve Webster (Moira Caruso/ Anna), Duncan Wisbey (Titus Cobbett), Stuart Milligan (Benito Caruso). Other parts played by members of the cast.
- The Good: Story, Performances
- The Bad: It highlights how Wells' original work is a double-edged sword..
- Audio Production10