By: Sara Lamerton, TRP Reviewer
Ah, the ‘Good Ol’ Days’. Simpler times before capitalism and climate change. Smartphones and TikTok. Electricity and running water. But how about the days long gone? Those even Boomers can’t reminisce over. Where public executions and the plague were commonplace; Royals ruled supreme and the end of your life was a bout of dysentery away.
Now fast forward to 2054. How do you envisage our not too distant future to be? If it was full of disaster and drought, famine and futility would you choose to visit those simpler times?
If you answered “hell yes, get me out of there”, then fear not. Better Times Inc is happy to help.
Created by Fishwives Theatre Company – the Lab Company’s latest group of 12 practitioners to complete the year-long training programme – Better Times Inc is the answer to our future-selves’ prayers. Or so everyone thinks. What starts out as a wacky twist on a sci-fi time travel tale, quickly turns into a mystery of doomsday proportions. A ‘who-dun-it’ spanning across the centuries.
When glitches in reality start to occur, we follow three central sleuthing characters piecing together a plot to bring about the end times. George (Grace Davies), the loyal, diligent employee takes it upon herself to fight for what many others would deem fruitless. Hester (Georgia Wilkinson) the lovable, kind-natured, hilariously innocent Queen’s Jester, accidentally finds herself trapped in a time far beyond her own. Yet learns a valuable lesson about being authentic and brave. And Clem (Beth Frigot), a logical, meticulous character sees a truth others don’t want to.
Of course, no modern tale of the rapture would be complete without a sociopathic nepo baby (Rachel Honeyball) crying about how unfair their life is, whilst simultaneously trying to destroy everyone else’s. And that’s not all. There’s a scandalous love affair, Medieval Shakira, tokenistic corporate wellness, and slow-motion Matrix-style fight scenes, just for starters.
Despite the mad-cap premise, at its heart Better Times Inc is about second chances. About doing what’s right when others around you are losing their minds. About cause and effect. About being the best version of yourself whilst helping others to find that within them. It’s about people coming together to appreciate what we do have. Valuing the life and love that is in front of our very eyes. But most importantly, doing it all in time to save humanity from a fate worse than death: a self-made living hell.
Reaching back through space and time to us in the present day, Better Times Inc delivers a serious message to the onlooking audience. Albeit with a massive helping of charm and humour. We are doomed to a bleak fate if we ignore what’s going on right now. Maybe the future doesn’t hold the ability to travel back in time to meet Queens or seduce questionable musical icons. But what is certain is that we do hold the keys to making it a brighter, more hopeful place. One where we don’t long for the days gone by, but we embrace reality safely in the knowledge that we made the right choices while we still had the chance.