Friday, 10 November 2017

“Around The World In 80 Days”
Derby Theatre.
A The New Vic Theatre production in association with The Royal Exchange Theatre.
The story of Phileas Fogg who makes a bet that he can travel around the world in 80 days. I’d heard and read so many great things about this production, adapted by Laura Eason, that I just had to see it, and I was not disappointed.
Theresa Heskins’ production has a cast of eight playing over 125 characters in this whirlwind of a play which includes no less than six trains, five boats, four fights, three dances, two circus acts and an elephant! What happened to the partridge in a pear tree and the kitchen sink?
I read this book when I was a kid and was completely enthralled by the pictures the words could paint in your mind. Now seeing it on stage and in front of your eyes, that same child-like wonderment came to the fore once more. There’s bandit battling, Princess rescuing, winter storms but will Fogg find love at the end and will he win his bet?
I have to say that this is one of the best plays I've seen this year for several reasons.
The story draws in everyone of any age. It has smatterings of panto with the bad guy versus the good guys, the timing for this production is incredible with the sound to action timing and the reaction to the other actors is just incredibly tight. It's like watching a film with the sound effects dubbed in afterwards, but this is live theatre which makes this do impressive. James Earls-Davis, the Sound Designer and associate Sound Designer, Alex Day have done an incredible job.
The Lighting Designer, Alexandra Stafford is also to be exulted for the split second timing with the lights, creating an exciting feast for the eyes.
The fight sequences are magical, and again with the timing bring a comic book feel to the show, Borrowing from "The Matrix" for some of its' slow mo acting effects, it again gave you the sense of being on a movie set special effect department, and you have to keep reminding yourself that this is live action, not celluloid wizadry.
Andrew Pollard (Fogg), Michael Hugo (Passpartout), Joey Parsad (Miss Singh), Kirsten Foster (Mrs Aouda), Dennis Herdman (Inspector Fix), Pushpinder Chani ( Mr Naidu),
Nyron Levy (Captain Speedy) and Matthew Ganley (Colonel Proctor) were all incredible and so full of energy.
Michael Hugo though was just amazingly entertaining, as they all were, and as a baddie, Dennis Herdman rightfully received his share of booing and hissing, reminding us that panto season was just around the corner.
Lis Evans designed the set, and what a clever set design this was. Each scene was transformed manually from the last scene and the boat scenes which had the actors, and props swaying was becoming so realistic, I found myself swaying along with them in my seat. This was also a massive
success for the Stage Management team.
James Atherton is the composer and Musical Director for this piece of theatre and his music took us to all the parts of the world that Fogg passed through, giving us an aural taste of the region.
One mustn't forget the Movement Director, Beverley Norris-Edmunds because without Beverley's work the often jelly like acrobatic and gymnastic movements would not have been as excellent as they were.
This show will appeal to all ages and is at Derby Theatre until Sunday 12 November 2017, and I would go and see this wonderful show over and over and over again. What a wonderful theatrical aperitif for the Christmas period

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