Friday, 4 December 2015

Review: Around The World In 80 Days at the St James Theatre



Around The World In 80 Days 
St James Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 3rd December 2015
★★★

Laura Eason's new stage adaptation of Around The World In 80 Days takes families back to the heart of storytelling this Christmas. 

Anna Fleischle's beautifully atmospheric design has transformed the St James Theatre; the stage is raised which opens out an area underneath, allowing the adventures to be seen on two levels. Plenty is left to the imagination which is what makes Around The World In 80 Days a commendable panto/Christmas show alternative.

Lucy Bailey's production features a handful of creative ideas. Whilst there are some nice moments, the structure feels clunky and formulaic - the piece lacks fluidity and there is still plenty of fine-tuning to be done.

The book seems to settle in the second act; there are some humorous moments which proved popular with the press night audience. Robert Portal makes the perfect Phileas Fogg whilst Simon Gregor throws himself into each scene as Passepartout. There were a couple of shaky moments when lines were seemingly muddled; I think the cast need a few more performances to fully settle into demanding show.

I love the idea behind Bailey's production; as a kid I remember thinking Around The World In 80 Days was so courageous - it is a wonderful story which is brought to life onstage with a touch of style.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Around The World In 80 Days runs at the St James Theatre until 17th January 2016.
Please visit www.stjamestheatre.co.uk for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Simon Annand

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