Tickets and more information: http://www.uniontheatre.biz/around-the-world-in-80-days.html
Running until: 1st September 2018
Production Photos by: Mark Senior
Based on the novel by Jules Verne, the show follows a man named Phileas Fogg who bets his fortune that he can travel around the world in 80 days. He sets off with his assistant Passepartout on his travels while trying not to get caught up in the tricks of Captain Fix.
Although the theatre has quite a small stage, Justin Williams & Jonny Rust’s set is truly well designed to keep an intimate feeling between the actors and the audience, as if we are all on this one journey together. Phil Willmott’s original songs and Annemarie Lewis Thomas’ score is ever so lively and is brought to life by a terrific group of actors. In tandem, the choreography by Mitchell Harper was excellent and managed to maintain the intimate feel, particularly in a number like Around The World With Katy’s Girls, without making the space look cramped. As well as this, using tap to bring a puppet dragon and puppet elephant to life was a highlight of the show for me.
While the story is very much Phileas Fogg’s (performed by a wonderful Sam Peggs), I have to say the real star of the show is the scene stealing Connor Hughes as Passepartout. Balancing Passpartout’s naivety with undeniable amounts of charm goes hand in hand in making the character so loveable that you can forgive the mistakes the character makes without feeling the need to chastise him for being stupid. Other stand outs include Jasmin Minjoot as Princess Aouda, who had a great moment near the end that stood up for independent women everywhere. She also had a beautiful solo called Maharaja’s Child that was lovely and showed off her belting vocals.
However, the show isn’t without it’s faults. With a run time of just over 2 hours, the show moved so quickly that I felt there wasn’t enough room for the development on some of the plot points. For example, the love story between Phileas Fogg and Princess Aouda felt very instant-lovely and although their romantic number What Do I Love was beautifully performed, there hadn’t been any clear on stage indication of a romantic relationship between them until that moment. The same, I found, goes for the storyline with Captain Fix. Although the character was merrily played by Robert Oliver, there wasn’t a whole lot of depth to Fix’s storyline. There’s a nice connection to Miss Fotherington (played by a wonderfully funny Ceris Hine) who Fogg meets on his travels which gave some insight into the background of Fix. However, I just didn’t understand why Fix was out to get Fogg so much. No amount of animated evil laughs can make Captain Fix a good villain, if his intentions for Fogg to fail are unclear.
As much as I did enjoy aspects of the show and is well adapted into a good musical, I do feel the show is in need of further developing some plot points in order to drive the story better. However, the cast, choreography and score are strong enough for you to have a good time while watching it.
Until next time,