What great admiration we had for the tiny team of merry thespians clearly still enjoying the festive run of Around The World in 80 Days at The Lowry Theatre in Manchester.
We went to see the show during its last hurrah as it makes its way from the North West down South and you would have forgiven the performers for feeling a wee bit jaded.
But they were having none of it and clearly enjoying this wonderful story as much now as they did when they started way back before the decorations went up.
They were lucky they had such a great simple story, this Jules Verne tale is a timeless classic and even my two newbies Ruaridh (10) and Flossie (8) enjoyed stepping back to Victorian times.
Directed by Theresa Heskins, the show has won much acclaim since it set off on tour in 2013 at London’s New Vic Theatre.
Armchair travellers we were as we followed wealthy Phileas Fogg (the excellent Andrew Pollard) as he wagered his life’s fortunes to prove he could circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days.
Attended by the wonderfully energetic and cheerful valet Passepartout (played with aplomb by Michael Hugo) they set off from a foggy London to take in the exotic subcontinent and the Wild West in their race against the clock, with just Bradshaw’s travel guide to ensure they caught the right train or steamer.
The set in The Quays Theatre is simple and very effective, a staircase made from suitacases and topped with umbrellas and a single overcoat.
A clock ticks in the background, symbolising the importance of time and the backdrop is an impressive 1872 world map.
The two are chased by the cunning Inspector Fix ( the hilarious Dennis Herdman) who believes Fogg is a bank robber who raided the Bank of England to get the cash to travel.
There is a feeling of pantomime about the whole show as Inspector Fix and Passepartout battle against each other,while an oblivious Fogg gets on with the job in hand.
Fogg meets and falls in love with beautiful widow Mrs Aouda (the graceful Kirsten Foster) and the show flows well with lots of audience interaction and simple displays to portray a particular country.
There are just a small band of cast members who play the 125 characters and they have it to a tee, with Passepartout being the best of the brilliant bunch.
Excellent props and costumes result in the audience fleeing from one country to another with ease and the main characters are well supported by Matthew Ganley and Nyron Levy, whose facial and body expressions are a dream.
The show will soon be moving to Norwich, so make sure you hop aboard and have some fun!
Around The World in 80 Days, Kenny Wax Family Entertainment and Simon Friend present this spectacular show at The Lowry Theatre, Manchester until Sunday, January 7th, for ticket information and accessibility call 0161 876 2183 or set up an online account via email firstname.lastname@example.org
To take a peek at the show, log onto www.thelowry.com
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