I never go to the theater. I think I’ve only seen one play in the last five years…I know, how very uncultured of me, it’s just something I never think of doing even though i’d really like to.
Recently, I went to Manchester to visit my family. My cousin Emma had kindly bought tickets for us to go to the Royal Exchange Theater to see Around The World in 80 Days. I was excited because like I said, going to the theater is a rare occurrence for me, and also I was just excited to have a night out with Emma in a new city. As for the actual play itself, I had no idea what to expect. Yes, I had a faint idea about what it was about (I think you can kind of guess from the title…), but having never read the book or seen the film, I had no idea if I was going to like it.
Well, I ended up more than just liking it. I loved it. Directed by Theresa Heskins and adapted by Laura Eason from the novel by Jules Verne, the play was a great experience and an amazing piece of theater, everything from the acting, the props, the dialogue, the stage direction, the lighting…it all worked perfectly together.
Firstly I want to talk about the Royal Exchange Theater. I had never been before but Emma had told me it was a really unique and beautiful theater, and she was right. The theater itself is round, perfect for something that takes place ‘around the world’, and it’s a very intimate setting. Our seats were amazing, one row from the front, and this really allowed us to be involved in the action and the play as it unfolded. A real experience, the choice of the theater really worked for this play in particular, the director commenting,
“We’ve been in love for some time, theatre-in-the-round and I. It generates a very special energy between performers and audience. I can’t wait to meet a new audience who share my enthusiasm for this form of theatre, and see what surprises are in store.”
With only a cast of eight, this play brilliantly transports you around the world, introduces you to new, interesting and quirky characters, and stretches your imagination from it’s simple but extremely effective use of props (who knew a coat could be so effective as an elephant!?) I just can’t write enough about how well done this play was. Sharp, charming and incredibly witty, the acting was brilliant and overall just an entirely enjoyable experience.
It was clear to see how much time, effort and devotion went into creating this play. The actors changed character and clothes in a blink of an eye, had lots of energy on stage and some even did amazing acrobatics for a circus scene. The characters of Phileas Fogg and Passepartout we’re hilarious and brilliantly quirky and it was lovely that the well deserving actors got a standing ovation at the end.
Overall, not only has the play encouraged me to see more plays and go to the theater more often, it has also inspired me to read the book, watch the films and experience how acting and theater can be used as a great platform for giving writers and directors a new view on a piece of literature or a film that has been done before.
You can read more about the Royal Exchange theater, the play and book tickets here.
Now I’m off to play some whist with Mr Fogg…
PS- Big thanks for Emma for my ticket and showing me around Manchester, I had such a great time!