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Around the World in 80 Days

The stage is sparse, mainly empty space, a few tables, benches and chairs, carried on and carried off, carefully arranged and re-arranged by those heroic theatre figures in black. A puff of smoke here, a sound effect there, images projected on the rear wall.

Out of these elements the whole world is brought to life from the drawing rooms of Victorian London to elephants in faraway jungles. From that world there is picked out a story; a story of a man, and a wager, and a journey of many miles – 24,901 miles, as the crow flies, to be precise.

The man in question is, of course, Mr Phileas Fogg, that Victorian gentleman of “exact and predictable habits” played to a tee by Year 3 student, Jack Cotton, who perfectly captures the character’s imperturbable and honourable nature. His loyal valet, Passepartout, is with him at every turn, his good natured and daring character expertly teased out by Jack Furlong. The kind and courageous Aouda, the woman who sees the beating heart beneath Phileas’ cold exterior, is wonderfully brought to life by Emily Hill. Trailing in their wake as they circumnavigate the globe is the hapless, mildly villainous, Inspector Fix - Cara LaRocca Sugden gets her teeth stuck in to this role with gusto!

A special mention must go to Carys Cummins for her lively turn as “The Honourable William Batulcar” and her “Troupe of Japanese Acrobats” whose spectacular tumbling drew spontaneous applause from the audience. In truth, the entire cast were excellent, but sadly not all can be mentioned here.

Very well done to all those involved from, director, Mr Lambert, to the make-up artists and the rest of the back stage crew, and everyone who gave up their time to serve interval drinks and generally help the production run so smoothly.