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'Around the World in 80 Days'

by robert massimi 2 years ago in review

Perfecting Time

Robert Massimi

Phileas Fogg, the hero of "Around the World in 80 Days, has returned to New York, and is at the New Victory Theater for the next few weeks. Laura Eason, playwright has adapted Jules Verne's novel into a fun play for the younger theater goer. The show is a light version for all ages.

Fogg is a man of independent means, his habits are so regular and disciplined that he fired his man servant for serving him tea at the wrong temperature, (the novel: it was shaving water).

In his club (Reformed Club), Fogg (Andrew Pollard) wagers 20,000 pounds that a man can make it around the world in 80 days and sets off the same night with his reluctant valet Passepartout (Michael Hugo), a former tightrope walker.

Traveling by train, boat, sled, and elephant, he rescued a Indian widow (Kristen Foster). Along the way he treats time zones and his personal desire to make the world in 80 days as a means to an end. Under the impression that Fogg has robbed a bank, Inspector Fix (Dennis Herdman) chances him all over the world.

Traveling the British Empire, the book isn't actually much of a travelogue. Fogg isn't much into seeing the sights, but never the less it is still pretty interesting how Theresa Heskins, the director, moves the characters about. The show is stylishly designed by Lis Evans (the set is a plethora of suitcases), this production borrows techniques from story theater and devised theater to create country to country with mostly music and lights.

Around the World in 80 Days is a whirlwind production and a very good one. Good acting, lighting, costumes and direction makes this a wonderful play. Fogg circles the globe in two hours; fun for parents and children alike. Although some parents behind me thought they were watching it from their family room, and an usher in the second act kept walking up and down the aisle (very distracting), it was a fun evening and worth the journey to the New Victory theater.

The New Victory is dedicated to children's theater and produces shows that are aimed at the younger audience. Its existence has produced more children's plays than any other theater in New York City on a professional level. Around the World in 80 Days uses creative fight scenes, humorous measures in Fogg's attempt to travel the world.

In a very lite way, we see Fogg's self assurance and his doubts. Fogg gies through his travels the way he goes through his life, very regimented. A lot of his personality and ways change when he meets the beautiful Indian widow. Fogg becomes a bit less self assured and even bumbling with her in tow. He gives his valet plenty of leeway in countries so that he may be alone with her. The valets travels are equally as entertaining as Fogg's.

Last week I saw Around the World in 72 Days. Ms. Bly did it in real life. This play is a fun play enjoyed by people of all ages. Wonderful costumes, lighting and direction with fine acting makes it worthwhile to see. Around the World in 80 Days has a little of something for everyone. Whether it is the adult reliving his childhood or that young person with a wonderment of a good story about a man who circles the globe in order to fulfill his wager, stories like this are always fun and spark ones inner youth.

robert massimi
robert massimi
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robert massimi

I have been writing on theater since 1982. A graduate from Manhattan College B.S. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both English and Science. I have produced 12 shows on and off Broadway. I've seen over700 shows

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