Thanks for the advice. Through this process I've acutally gotten quite familiar with the php.ini file now. Unfortunately I never did manage to get the problem fixed and I'm a little baffled as to why.
I checked the script with about 15 different people and it loaded fine for them. Sometimes it loads properly now on my computer, other times it hangs or reaches the time limit. Noone else has been able to replicate the problem for me, I've tried it on 4 computers now behind the same router. 1 invariably hangs (i've cleared the cache/history to no avail), 2 hang sometimes, and the last one works fine every single time.
I've further installed the script on 3 different servers, it works perfectly every time on 2/3, all of which are using the identicle .ini file. The last server, and only that server, causes the mentioned problems.
At anyrate, I've given up and because everything else is installed and working, I should be wiping my hands clean of this server and this project within the hour