Around The World In 80 Days

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Photo credit: Andrew Billington

Who knew that we could take a trip around the world without even having to leave Salford?

Laura Eason’s fast-paced adaptation of the Jules Verne’s classic novel sailed into Salford last night, as it continues its Christmas run at the Lowry theatre.

The 1872 classic tells the story of the mysteriously wealthy Phileas Fogg (Andrew Pollard), who puts his life savings on a bet that he can travel around the world in just 80 days, whilst avoiding the devious Inspector Fix (Dennis Herdman), who believes he’s a bank robber.

Passepartout is Fogg’s lovable companion, played by Michael Hugo who certainly knows how to steal a show. Hugo and Passepartout are a match made in heaven, superbly displaying his skills as an actor, from martial arts to his improvisation with unfortunate members of the audience – which was particularly impressive.

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Photo credit: Andrew Billington

Director, Theresa Heskins pieced the whole show together in a staggering 25 days and the hard work has truly paid off as she’s transported the classic book onto stage effortlessly.

The brilliance that is set designer, Lis Evans can’t go unmentioned either. Evans easily transports us around the globe with her simplistic set design of suitcases and maps. These objects may seem relatively uninteresting, however in this case with the help of choreographer Beverly Edmunds, the duo manage to turn a set of old battered suitcases into stairs, trains and even boats with the blink of an eye.

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Photo credit: Andrew Billington

A talented ensemble of only eight actors play a globe’s worth of more than 100 different characters. The strong cast work like a well oiled machine, switching seamlessly between not only characters but countries too. One moment we’re in France and the next (with a change of a hat) we’re whisked away to Italy.

The intimate Quays Theatre at the Lowry is the perfect setting for this well-loved classic. Even without the use microphones and an audience filled with young children, sound projection was never an issue.

Eight actors, 125 characters, eight countries, six trains, five boats, four fights, a circus and an elephant all crammed into a two-hour show – we’re exhausted just thinking about it.

You can join Philleas Fogg and Passepartout in their race against time at the Lowry Theatre until January 7th 2018.

http://www.thelowry.com/events/around-the-world-in-80-days

*Reviewed by Opening Night guest reviewer Francesca Eagleton*

Around The World in 80 Days – Interview with Matthew Ganley

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Matthew Ganley

Manchester born Matthew Ganley will spend Christmas at home in Salford after spending the year touring the UK in the stage adaption of Around The World in 80 Days. The New Vic Theatre’s celebrated production of Jules Verne’s famous novel, that follows the adventures of Phileas Fogg as he travels the world in a race against the clock, plays at The Lowry for a 6 week run over the festive season.

Opening Night caught up with Matthew to get the lowdown on the high spirted escapade before it opens in Salford on 5th December.

ON: What can we expect from Around the World in 80 Days?

MG: It’s a fast paced epic journey with a lot of action, fight sequences-there’s a circus, an elephant, lots of twists and turns and plenty of audience involvement. It’s quite an unforgettable experience!

ON: There’s only 8 of you in the cast playing 125 different roles-what’s the challenge of doing something like that every night?

MG: It’s keeping your stamina up as there’s never a dull moment. You run on stage as one person, you run off, do a quick costume change and you are back on doing something completely different. I go from an English aristocrat to a Bombay street seller in one of the changes between scenes!  

ON: It sounds like quite a spectacle we are in for…

MG: There’s obviously lots of different countries that Phileas Fogg travels to and in a short space of time we portray each of those environments with different sounds, feelings and accents. It’s a real visual treat for the audience.

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Around The World in 80 Days, photo credit: Andrew Billington

ON: Now you are a local actor, from Salford and this show sees you play your home ground for Christmas at The Lowry, how does that feel?

MG: I’m really chuffed to be at home for Christmas and it’s so nice to have friends and family that I can spend time with and share this great show with as they come to see me in it.

 ON: This isn’t the first time you have been on stage at The Lowry is it?

MG: Yes, over the years I’ve been in a number of different shows and I always love going back to The Lowry, it’s such a great theatre.

ON: Do you find things have changed now for northern actors such as yourself now we have these amazing theatres in the North West bringing some big productions to our stages?

 MG: Absolutely, particularly the Manchester Fringe scene. It is so vibrant now and there’s so much great work which gets produced.  That all feeds into the arts scene as a whole and it makes Manchester and Salford a very exciting place for outside companies to come and visit.

Listings:

Around the World in 80 Days

The Lowry, Salford

5 Dec- 7 Jan 2018

https://www.thelowry.com/events/around-the-world-in-80-days