Made by and for those with ADHD and claiming to be a celebration of “neurodivergent experiences of time on stage”, The Not-God Complex’s All In Good Time is an inspired journey through time, universe and feeling. Unfortunately, the journey’s roads are paved by half-baked concepts and some seriously wonky dialogue.
The Not-God Complex are Zoë Glen and Billie Grace (both starring as Time Lords and co-directing), with associate artist Rebeka Dio playing the central Time Traveller. All of them are relatively fresh actors who move in a captivating way. Zoë is hilarious, Billie is especially energetic, and Rebeka starts off the show looking and dancing like a transplant from a home video shot at a rave in 1990 – a rave that you wish you were able to experience. The company have made other shows before this – they plan on touring their de-facto debut What Makes A Body Terrifying? this summer. I hold strong faith that, unlike my personal introduction to them, it’d be an absolute stunner to watch.
Watching All In Good Time, you start to notice that their ideation uncovers a weak link. Writing-wise, the show opens with utterings that belong in a Year 7 poetry class (“You know that we are celebrating because…”), later greeting our ears with the use of odiously overused words like “liminal” and “petrichor”, used in order to sound deep (I feel like they were this close to talking about “sonder”), and more puns about time than a brochure for a clock shop. A minute-long commentary on subjects like Quorn dinosaurs and the blandness of the Renaissance, and a song about Henry de Vick, the man who essentially created the modern clock, prove the only shining lights between the pages of banality.
As well, while the time-travel focused story (transparently inspired by Doctor Who and Horrible Histories) sounds great on paper, its execution is lacking. Aside from the performance being relaxed and captioned, little points to the show being uniquely neurodivergent – to someone coming in without expectations, it just feels like a show about how life should be spent living more (whatever that means) and partying less. The pre-recorded scenes of the Time Traveller navigating cafés and tube stations give a certain early-00s-film-festival kitsch that pleases the eye, but is otherwise bearing little connection to the plot.
Conceptually, things show promise. The explosion of mini rubber ducks, starting from when you take to your seat and find such a duck there, is a visual joy (even if its meaning is never fully explained). The resonating calls and responses of squeaks made by eager audience members proves even more joyful – during a scene which involves prolonged silence from the actors (guided in Billie’s case by another unexpected delight, a mini-tub of Halo Top), I started to wonder if a standalone sea of ducks would have made for a five-star watch. However, those ideas do lead to letdowns – A parody of Catchphrase makes me sit up in my seat, but fails to deliver as the writing – seemingly set up solely to tell viewers that there are two Greek gods of (multiple types of) time – compromises on the actors’ charisma.
Overall, All In Good Time is a waste of potential from those with the ability to glisten. While the acting ability is on point, the script and story feels unfinished and disappointing, even compared to other creatives working on neurodivergent time.
VAULT Festival 2023 runs Tuesday 24th January to Sunday 19th March, full listings and ticket information can be found here.
This review was written by a participant of the VAULT Festival New Critics Programme in partnership with Theatre Weekly. For more information about the VAULT Festival New Critics Programme, and all of our 2023 participants, please visit: https://vaultfestival.com/new-critics-programme/