Show review by Julia Pattison: York Theatre Royal’s circus-themed Around The World in 80 Days

Summer Family Show: Around The World In 80 Days

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 11:56 am
The set was a character in its own right, enhanced by superb sound.

Venue: Archbishop Holgate School

Dates: Touring until August 28 2021

Review by Julia Pattison

Oh my word, what a wonderful sight lay before me as I entered Archbishop Holgate’s School playing fields, ready to review York Theatre Royal’s circus-themed Around The World in 80 Days.

I marvelled at the magnificent circus set standing proudly in the middle of the field, so colourful and inviting, with the promise of a fun-packed show to come.

Like magicians, the York Theatre Royal Crew, in the tradition of travelling players going from town to town, somehow miraculously managed to squeeze this amazing set into a trailer, before packing it away, making it pop up like Brigadoon at another venue!

The set was a character in its own right, enhanced by superb sound; I was enchanted from the beginning, so what a feast the show must have been for the young audience members.

Writer-director Juliet Forster had a vision that has come wonderfully to life in this superb family friendly Summer show.

What a talented troupe the five actors were, sparkling in their individual roles, and working together brilliantly as an ensemble.

Emillio Iannucci was outstanding in his role as Phileas Fogg; such a sense of fun and mischief too, as he rode around the circus ring on his bicycle, as well as a spiffing performance as an earnest Victorian gentleman traveller.

Eddie Man was wonderfully wicked as Mr Fix, and came into his own in the later terrific train scene – yee ha!

Ali Azhar stole our hearts as Phileas’ loyal but gullible newly appointed servant Passepartout; some wonderful slapstick scenes had us all laughing out loud. Ulrika Krishnamurti (Aouda, Fogg’s romantic interest) was superb in her role; just loved her feisty comments, puncturing any Victorian male pomposity, yet keeping the atmosphere light, and full of fun.

It was an inspired writing decision to put real life American journalist, (wonderfully portrayed by Dora Rubinstein) Nellie Bly’s story alongside fictional Fogg’s story, and we learned that she set the record for the fastest crossing of land and sea taking just 72 days and completing her trip in 1890. What a woman!

The wind got up just as Fogg and his companions were enduring a Tempest towards the end of the break neck journey; nature was playing its part in the show, yet the rain held off thankfully.

A fabulously energetic family Summer show; look out for some brief, brilliant Bollywood dancing, and an elephant that appears like magic before your very eyes.