Review: Around The World In 80 Days
Around The World In 80 Days is an adventure like no other and has proven to be a guaranteed hit with audiences of all ages.
It feels wonderful to be back in the glorious York Theatre Royal as I review my first production of 2023, and what a production it was…
As we entered the auditorium, it was clear you were being transported into the heart of the story; circus music could be heard and the set was ready and waiting to be admired.
This impressive set was soon to become the playground for the forthcoming mischief.
Around The World In 80 Days is at York Theatre Royal from 2 to 4 February.
The classic novel by Jules Ferne interpreted by the Tilted Wig company could first be seen back in 2021, touring York and bringing theatrical gold during the pandemic when it was needed most.
Therefore, it was no surprise York Theatre Royal wanted to revisit this triumph and bring further joy once again to the residents of York and beyond.
What I feel is particularly novel about this production is that – as well as the focus on the famous character Phileas Fogg, portrayed fantastically by Alex Phelps, and his eventful journey across the world – it also focused on the inspirational real-life hero Nellie Bly.
Bly, a trailblazing American journalist, managed to get one up on the fictional Fogg and complete her own around the world adventure in 72 days! Katriona Brown brought to life this strong-willed, adventurous woman and created some beautiful moments of storytelling throughout.
I also appreciate the time taken to highlight the historical accuracies of the retelling – creating extremely teachable moments for the whole audience to take away with them.
With a production of five actors, it was surprising how continuously full the stage felt – due to the cast and their talented physical theatre skills utilising space, probs and their own bodies.
Phelps and Brown were joined onstage by the gifted Genevieve Sabherwal portraying the sassy and lovable Aouda and Eddie Mann as the cheeky villain Detective Fix.
Wilson Benedito completed the quintet as Phileas’ faithful assistant Passepartout, and was a standout performer – his skills and talents knew no bounds. The entire company worked together flawlessly, even with a few minor sound issues at the beginning.
As highlighted previously, the stage was exceptionally well-designed by Sara Perks and used superbly by the cast. Every item had several uses, enabling them to create boats, trains, carriages and even an elephant from a collaboration of props! A scroll situated on the front of the set took us from country to country, and gave a brilliant centre to the piece and helped guide the audience throughout.
This production is an equal measure of laugh out loud comedy and a masterclass in multi-rolling – often used in perfect synchronicity to create pure theatre magic. Children could be heard giggling throughout the show and even the adults couldn’t help but join them, giving the cast the warm reception they deserve.
Tilted Wig will now embark on their own adventure, one I am sure would make Phileas and Nellie proud, as they tour this fantastic production across the UK up until the end of the year. You don’t want to miss this!
You can still catch Around The World In 80 Days at York Theatre Royal today (Saturday). Tickets start from £15 and are available here.