The New Vic have long held an ability to delight audiences over and over again, which has gained them a deserved reputation for excellence. From their unique and awe-inspiring Christmas shows to the series of uplifting and enlightening plays in the Staffordshire Hoard Festival, The New Vic create masterpieces that are talked about for years to come.
Back by popular demand, Jules Verne’s Around The World In 80 Days returns, with some familiar faces, after record-breaking runs in 2013 and 2014 and this time this spectacular performance is set to venture beyond the walls of the well-loved theatre in-the-round.
Theresa Heskins has a knack for creating moments in the play that sparkle and there is a certain sense of magic about this production from the outset. From the way the characters throw passports and bank notes to one another across the stage to the intrusion of their train journey at the end, the play is so full of clever instances that make it the spectacle that it is.
The eight strong cast bind the production together, with a great deal of physical theatre marking scene changes and fight scenes, they work at 100% intensity from start to finish. Every single actor puts on an ovation worthy performance, which they received and was well deserved at the end of this performance.
Andrew Pollard reprises his role as Phileas Fogg and is utterly unshakeable as the staunch, no-nonsense Fogg that achieves everything with mathematical and logical precision. Kirsten Foster reprises her role as Aouda (which she played in the 2013 production) and makes a great addition to the duo as she attempts to show Fogg the world through her eyes.
Michael Hugo also returns as Fogg’s faithful valet Passepartout. He is without doubt one of the funniest actors of his time, and is an absolute joy to watch in this role. His hilarious characterisation, ad-lib audience interaction and his impressive physical ability make him the real highlight of the show and you cannot help but smile whenever he is on stage.
Matthew Canley was another stand out member of the ensemble who played various characters and impressed with his variety of characterisations and accents.
What is most striking about the production is the elegant simplicity with which the set is transformed before our very eyes. With a clever costume change supported by movements from the exceptional company of actors we are instantly transported from one country to the next.
Maps and luggage are at the heart of Lis Evans’ set design. Numerous locations and the transport they use to get there are created out of the luggage, and we can follow our journey alongside Phileas Fogg by markers on a map which surrounds the auditorium and covers the floor of the set.
After its run at The New Vic, this outstanding production will face the challenge of taking the original in-the-round design to end-on theatres all over the country as it embarks on its tour taking in venues such as Coventry, Guildford and Plymouth. It is intriguing to think of an in-house in-the-round production touring to other theatres and sprinkling a little bit of our New Vic magic across the country with it as it goes.
It is really no wonder this exceptional show has been brought back for a third time. The sheer genius of this production is mesmerising and is without doubt an experience that every lover of the theatre needs to have at least once…or maybe twice.
Around The World In 80 Days is at The New Vic Theatre until Saturday 8th July 2017.
It’s touring for the rest of the year! To buy tickets for this stop and the entire tour, visit: 80dayslive.com