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THEATRE REVIEW- Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne – New Vic Theatre

28 June 2017 Theatre

Adapted by Laura Eason and directed by Theresa Heskins

Everyone knows the story of “Around the World in 80 Days”, whether it’s from the book, the films or even the TV series. The story of how Phileas  Fogg made a bet at the Reform Club that he could travel around the globe in that time in the days long before the transatlantic jet.

However well you know the story the latest production at the New Vic brings a freshness and vitality to the tale that will keep an audience of all ages enthralled for the evening. This is not the first visit to the New Vic for this production but if the standing ovation given to last night’s performance is any guide, it should certainly not be the last.

All the cast play their parts (in the plural) to make this an evening to enjoy, from Andrew Pollard as the upright Englishman, Fogg, who takes on the bet, to Simi Egbejumi- David who plays Captain Speedy ( and 29 other parts, though I didn’t have time to count them all) .

However it is Michael Hugo who brings the house down as Fogg’s valet, Passepartout.  His verbal and physical comedy is the highlight of the evening, as is his interaction with the audience, even if at one point it meant that one of the younger members of the audience lost part of her ice cream to him.

A word too for the set designer Lis Evans, who has the difficult job of turning the small stage at the New Vic into so many countries of the world. With a minimum of props and the judicious use of a stack of trunks and some maps she does a brilliant job. And talking of trunks you should wait to see how she makes an elephant materialise on stage!

The rest of the cast also take on a multitude of characters and costume changes which work with clockwork precision throughout the evening and it’s surprising how well a few movements of the actors bodies can portray train travel and the rolling of a ship. All in all it shows how much can be achieved on stage with relatively little.

This is undoubtedly the best production at the New Vic so far this year, so get along and see it before it goes on tour around the country.

“Around the World in 80 Days” runs at the New Vic Theatre until Saturday July 8th. Telephone the box office for tickets on 01782 717962 or email tickets@newvictheatre.org.uk.

Written by Ian Corbishley – Hitmix Radio



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