Saturday, July 26, 2008

Around the World in 80 Days

Photo/Sandy Underwood

Mark Brown's adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days is all about transportation, and not just the physical kind. Exaggerated accents, comic physical action and a briskly narrated pace (with two Foley artists for emphasis) transform Jules Verne's novel into an adventurous bit of theater. In the same vein as The 39 Steps, Brown's script calls for a small ensemble (five actors), with Daniel Stewart as the straight man, Phileas Fogg, and Evan Zes as his indomitable sidekick, the flexibly French Passepartout. They are joined by Lauren Elise McCord as Aouda, who comes across as the loveliest of plot contrivances, while the very talented Jay Russell and John Keating spin around them, filling out the other twenty odd characters. If gas prices are keeping you from traveling much this summer, why not take a trip Around the World? This slapstick adventure is far roomier than coach, not bogged down by any weather delays, and, thanks to the expert acting, there's no chance of you missing anything along the way. As Fogg would say, it's all accounted for: entertainment most certainly included.

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