Traditional tales with an accent on adventure don’t come greater than Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days. Big screen interpretations have always had much to live up to when transferring Phileas Fogg’s Victorian escapades from the printed page.
However, Stephen Quantick’s stage adaptation has breathed new life into the story line injecting modern comedic elements while maintaining the stories original sense of spirit and adventure.
Jordan Smith gives the role of Phileas Fogg a sense of flamboyance and control, while Timothy Hawken is Fogg’s manservant Jean Passpartout which requires him not only to perform large amounts of dialogue but also entail him to be knocked about a bit from time to time, something he does with ease.
Abbie Andrews as Princess Aouda / Penny and Emma Trott as American journalist Nellie Bly, both give delightful performances while retaining an element of feisty starlet about them.
Special mention must also go to George Wiseman who gives a frequently entertaining and energetic performance as the hapless Detective Fix who pursues Fogg around the world suspecting he is a bank robber, ably hindered by Nellie Bly’s Miss Price.
A sinister sisterhood cult, an elephant and an unexpected appearance of a balloon are only a few of this productions highlights and are a credit to the combined efforts of PNG’s members under the direction of Emma Brunnock, Katie Harris and James Reynolds.
A unique chance to see some stars in the making, Around the World in 80 Days continues until March 30.
Revised for Entertainment South Wales archive, October 2019.