Review by Ian McArdell
From writer and director Max Hochrad, Dilation is an unusual and thought-provoking time-travel tale told as a one-off, 75-minute drama.We meet its central character, scientist Amanda Higgs, as she reappears some forty years after her own time. The Britain she finds is a country radically altered, with society dominated by corporate forces and plagued by power cuts. As Amanda struggles to get her bearings, she is aided by the good-hearted Marnie who works for a local installer of generators. Through their developing friendship, we learn more about the fate that has befallen the country. Hochrad’s story offers no easy explanations and there is a good deal of backstory to discover, not only Amanda’s reasons for fleeing, but also how this alternate future came to be in her absence, with its power outages and corporate political dynamics. Mostly this was explored though Amanda’s eyes, though there were a few moments where we felt that characters were reminding each other of things for our benefit.
The story boasts impressive performances from the two leads, Sioned Jones as the obsessive and increasingly desperate Amanda, and Rebecca Ross as the earnest Marnie. In many ways, I wanted to hear more of Marnie’s story and her world. There was a hint of mystery in the backstory of her character which it might have been nice to explore. In amongst the politics, there are some ominous ideas too. With a population subjugated and society fractured, this is an isolated state, cut off from Europe and seemingly in the thrall of America. Though it may have been happenstance, it is not without amusement that I note that the release was scheduled for just a day after the original Brexit date!
Dilation is a challenging, thought provoking play packed full of ideas – perhaps too many for a one-off drama; as well as the dystopian future it presents, there is a serious consideration of the seismic implications of time travel and the dislocation the traveller might feel in a world which has changed in their absence. I would be fascinated to hear more from this world and indeed, more from Max Hochrad and the Par-Sec team.
Dilation is available from B7 Media on download from £7.95.