Image Credit: Royal Exchange Theatre/New Vic Theatre
Around The World In Eighty Days was originally staged in 2013 at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffordshire. Courtesy of being a Twitter winner, I was given tickets to see the acclaimed joint production by Royal Exchange Theatre and New Vic Theatre. Curiousity reigned how Jule Verne's classic would be adapted and interpereted on stage. Many know of Michael Palin's/BBC adaptation series and how the Monty Python star attempted the journey around the world in 80 days sans plane which is of a similar vein to Phileas Fogg, an eccentric Englishman and his French travel companion, Passerpartout.
Lis Evan's stage layout is of a Victorian world map with its memorabilia of stamps and visas of the then era. The In-the-Round space is used to the maximum (including the seating galleries) with simplicity by eight actors playing the many characters of the book. Alexandra-Stafford's lighting compliments the stage setting along with James Earls-Davis's sound design. The entertaining songs composed by James Atherton kept the production alive with key tunes representing the countries and its cultures. Phileas Fogg (Andrew Pollard) and Passpartout (Michael Hugo) stopped briefly as Fogg was keen to get from A to B in a tight timescale - this is understandable as his life's fortune was at stake so moving on quickly wasn't an option! There is original use of how the mode of transport is put together on stage and transport Fogg and company around the globe.
Laura Eason's superb adaptation has the ingredients for an entertaining show with some comedic elements when things go mishap and runs in with the law including the untrustworthy Inspector Fix (played by Dennis Herdman) who has other ideas for Fogg's adventures. Passpertout and company entertained the audience at the beginning of Act 2 with some acrobatic feats. It feels, however, the entertainment, though well done, went on to a point where the story's continuation slightly lost it focus. One wasn't sure whether Fogg was either in Japan or United States at at the beginning of Act 2?
Seeing the production no doubt brought life to Jule Verne's classics. The creativity, imagination and ingenuity of the production, under the direction of Theresa Heskins, guaranteed an evening of adventure for all the family. Excellent performances from all the cast especially those from Andrew Pollard and Michael Hugo.
The productions is on until 16th August 2014 and tickets can be booked via its website.