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.
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.
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.
*Reviewed by Opening Night guest reviewer Francesca Eagleton*