The New Vic Theatre has a reputation for creating exceptional theatre and this production is a classic example. The New Vic produced Around the World in 80 Days back in 2013/2014 and it proved so successful then that it is back, but this time it is going on tour around the UK.
Several cast members appeared in the original production including Michael Hugo (Passepartout) and Andrew Pollard (Phileas Fogg). Both of these actors are perfect for their roles, they encompass the parts effortlessly and draw the audience in with ease. Hugo's use of humour adds an excellent light note to the story and his interaction with audience members as well as the other characters helps to draw you in to the story. Pollard is an excellent English gent who has the eccentricities down to a tee. Most actors in the show play a variety of parts with some playing 30 different characters throughout the show. This is done with great care and credit must be given to director Theresa Heskins for her thinking of this. It is always clear which characters are being played at which point, without clear thinking this could have become confusing.
With this being an in the round production the set is minimal but brilliantly executed. The map of the world is split around the auditorium and actors enter from all directions helping to immerse the audience. Some of the theatres on the tour are not in the round and I really hope this effect is able to be recreated.
This show has a great mix of humour and story and is suitable for all ages. The audience were constantly laughing and, even though I saw the show on its first outing at the theatre, everything seemed fresh and new. This is another perfect example of the genius and talent that the New Vic Theatre has available to produce top quality theatre. If you see this production coming to a theatre near you then you must get a ticket, you will regret it if you don't!
Reviewed by Daniel Keen at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme.
This production is currently touring the UK until the 7th January 2018. For tickets and further information visit the shows website.