Around the World in 80 Days

  • Theater
  • Comedy
0 Love It
1/3
Photograph: Michael Blase
Around the World in 80 Days
2/3
Photograph: Michael Blase
Around the World in 80 Days
3/3
Photograph: Michael Blase
Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 Days. New Theater at 45th Street (Off Broadway). By Mark Brown. Dir. Rachel Klein. With ensemble cast. 2hrs. One intermission.

Around the World in 80 Days plot synopsis:

A 19th-century English gentleman attempts to win a wager by circling the globe in record time.

Around the World in 80 Days theater review:

All the world may be a stage, but how do you make a stage all the world? This is the primary challenge of mounting Jules Verne’s far-flung 1873 adventure tale, Around the World in 80 Days, in a theater. The restless plot follows an exacting London gentleman named Phileas Fogg—determined to win a £20,000 bet—on a journey over land and sea, traversing four continents and three oceans and attacks from two kinds of Indians. Mark Brown’s 2001 adaptation cleverly reduces the scale of the story: It is written to be performed on a minuscule budget, by a cast of just five (in multiple roles). Reviewing a 2008 production at the Irish Rep, I praised it for “circumnavigating the perils of literalism.”

The play's diverting current revival occasionally stalls on literalism’s rocks. The once-shabby New Theater at 45th Street has been freshly appointed with expensive lights, sound and digital projections, and Robert Andrew Kovach’s multitiered steampunk set looks marvelous. Despite lovely touches in Rachel Klein’s staging, however, Around the World’s imaginative lightness sometimes seems cramped in a gilded cage, with surround-sound effects that threaten to drown out the dialogue. Ultimately, the show is at its best when the actors simply have space to stretch their broad comedy. Bryce Ryness, stiff and rouged to the hilt, seems an awkward fit for the leading role, but Jimmy Ray Bennett, Stephen Guarino and John Gregorio—erstwhile costars of the improv musical The Nuclear Family—find many moments to pop, with Bennett painting his 16 parts in especially amusing shades of camp. As with Fogg's trip itself, the pleasure here is less in the money than in the timing.—Review by Adam Feldman

Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam

Discounted tickets are available through Time Out Offers until July 31, 2013.

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Average User Rating

5 / 5

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LiveReviews|3
1 person listening
Phil

This show is a lot of fun. It was really wonderful. James Seol who plays several roles is wonderful. All the actors are great but James Seol really was amazing.

Joyce

Fun and creative. Uplifting and entertaining throughout. I knew the story from childhood but was never bored The acting was excellent , with many amusing subtle gestures The special effects mimicking weather conditions were ingenious. Tiny details, including shadows of attacking Indians were hilarious

Susan

So happy we got to see this show. We got discount tickets to see this play and figured we had nothing to lose for the cost. If choosing to see this play, you have to remember this is off-Broadway, so the venue will not be as grand, nor will the effects be like a Disney production. If you are looking for a REAL New York City play experience though, and not a tourist attraction (for example Lion King) this is the one to see. The story line is good for kids, no nudity or bad words, although it might be hard to children under 9 to follow the plot. The stage, although small, is elaborately and creatively done in a steampunk fashion with some great lighting effects and a circular screen image which all really ad to the show. Great period costuming as well. The cast is small, but the talent huge. Some play multiple roles and all are fantastic. Lots of subtle humor, not slapstick but definitely funny stuff! Don't want to ruin the show, but the train scenes and an elephant scene were very funny. The cast does a great job of acting out being on a train. Very happy we were able to see this play and wish it a long run.