Who’s ready to take a trip Around the World in Eighty Days? Entrepreneur Cedric Yau has produced Jules Verne’s classic with a new vision and innovation for today’s generation. To begin with, the stellar cast of Shirine Bab, Jimmy Ray Bennett, Guy LeMonnier, Gary Littman and Matt Lutz among others, is diverse and very talented. I was lucky to see the press production preview with James Seol who was super talented in his characters that ranged from Captain Speedy to a cowboy with full authentic accent. I am very impressed with actors that can just move from one accent to the next in a jiffy.
Written by Mark Brown and directed by Rachel Klein, the plot centers around Phileas Fogg who places a bet to win £20,000 if he can travel around the world in eighty days. The audience is taken on an adventurous trip with Englishman Phileas Fogg and his new employee who’s a French valet by the name of Jean Passepartout. The duo travel from London to Egypt, India, Hong Kong, Japan, San Francisco in the US, New York City and back to London.
In Around the World in Eighty Days, it is the encounters along the way where all the fun and excitement is to be enjoyed. He meets the beautiful Aouda played dramatically by Shirine Babb and there are some hilarious, witty and endearing moments. You’ll have to take the trip with this cast, so I’m not giving away the rest of the plot though you might be familiar with it already. Regardless, Cedric Yau’s new vision for this production is very enjoyable. There’s one scene you’ll love that’s sheer theater within theater creativity, with the use of shadow puppets that is reminiscent of the talented Julie Taymor, whose production of The Green Bird I saw years ago before her rise to fame with The Lion King. In the scene, there is a shootout, and Indians attack Phileas Fogg on the train and the use of shadow puppets is brilliantly used to create the chaos that ensues.
In addition, you’ll love the the set and theater in which Around the World in Eighty Days is housed. There are panoramic steam-punk inspired wall murals, hand painted drapes and upholstered seats that match the stage drapes which are all original details of Jules Verne classic that takes place in 1872. Get ready to take a trip Around the World in Eighty Days, and enjoy the adventure if you dare.