Around the World in 80 Days
Tue Jul 22 2008
Photograph: Sandy Underwood
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Small world, isn’t it? The cramped, cornered stage of the Irish Rep might not, at first blush, seem the ideal space for a theatrical version of Jules Verne’s 1873 novel, Around the World in 80 Days, a ripping tale of adventure over rough lands and high seas. Yet the jaunty comedy of Verne’s story, which might have been lost in a more lavish production, is pleasingly central to Mark Brown’s pocket-sized adaptation. Traveling with classy economy, the show circumnavigates the perils of literalism.
Daniel Stewart stars as the hot-to-globe-trot adventurer Phileas Fogg, an English gentleman with a clockwork mind; the frisky Evan Zes plays his trouble-prone but heroically loyal French manservant, Passepartout. On a wager, the two set out to circle the planet by whatever means necessary (boat, train, elephant, sledge); along the way, they rescue an Indian woman, Aouda (Lauren Elise McCord), and dodge a clumsy, Javert-manqué detective named Fix (the valuable Irish Rep regular John Keating). Ably steered by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Michael Evan Haney, the cast of five—Jay Russell and Keating play 25 roles between them—speeds through four continents’ worth of wacky accents and daffy fixes, with help from David K. Mickelsen’s costumes and a pair of onstage Foley artists (who provide sound effects for typhoons, Comanche ambushes and sundry other diversions). The show is a light but tasty summer trifle, and proves anew that, in competent hands, the stage can be a world of entertainment.
Here is the second page of the body.