Review: To Move in Time, Summerhall, Edinburgh Fringe

Tyrone Huggins’ voice is like honey. His sentences ooze, thick and syrupy, lulling his audience into a stunned sort of stupor. Written by Tim Etchells, To Move In Time picks apart the concept of time travel. Huggins pulls at threads connecting the past, present and future as though it were an elaborate tapestry. Told as a stream of consciousness, the narrative bounces backwards and forwards, before landing in the here and now – a place that breeds a sense of exhaustion, whimsy and melancholia.

Stood within a crop circle of envelopes, Huggins reflects on the extraordinary. Reading glasses clinging to a gold chain around his neck, his dress is anything but extaordinary – though the normalcy of his attire gives way to the charming comedy rooted within Etchells’ script. There is a musicality in its leaping across values – in its shifting of priorities. It is also impossibly complicated, the activity of those multiple selves stepping through space, each action having the potential to reap some catastrophic side effect. The threat of such eventualities is daunting. Befuddling. Puzzling, even. 

Lighting design (by Jim Harrison) works to transfix the spectator further, a slow dimming enough to give shape to that space between waking and sleeping. The maddening responsibility attached to the gift of time travel feels overwhelming too  – action-film heroics bleeding into diseases such as “Future Sickness”, or “Time Anxiousness.” Huggins is playful in his storytelling, thumbing spare change in the pocket of his jeans. He could, if he pleased, prevent all significant historical tragedies from occurring, attend early Prince concerts, or every major FA Cup final. It is hubris bound against painful flavours of loneliness. 

The weight of the world is a heavy one to bear. Despite this, Etchells’ writing is light and lofty. How must it look on the page? Those narrative threads curling like string round a finger, blood rushing to the site similar to Huggins as he hurtles towards the hour of Armageddon. Just to see how it happens, just to explain the inexplicable.

To Move In Time is a collision of the human and superhuman. A piece of wondrous phrase-making that revels in the fragility of the unknown.

To Move In Time is playing Summerhall until 24 August, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.