(Harrison ME) My wife and I were in the audience at Deertrees Theatre on Friday night to see “Around the World in 80 Days.”
There was a very small audience (50?) on hand for the opener of an extremely good show.
I know the “Around the World” story very well because in a former life I taught seventh grade geography and used that book annually. The story provided plenty of mapping opportunities as well as entertaining action.
When I saw the show advertised I was certain that I would want to see it. I was very curious to know how a story with so many twists and turns could be presented on a stage with just a few performers.
My uncertainty turned out to be unnecessary. Performers took on multiple parts and made the props on stage work marvelously.
The pace on stage was fast as it had to be because of the urgency of accomplishing the trip around the world in very limited time. The speakers were quick-spoken out of authenticity to the tempo of the trip.
I suspect that those completely unfamiliar with the story might have wondered on occasion what was going on. It wasn’t always easy to understand what was said……..and we were in the front row.
But for me, knowing the story, I could anticipate what was to come.
It was interesting to see what parts of the book were left out and what parts had liberties taken with them. Trust me, there was little variance.
I remember buying a classroom set of the book and noticing that the new cover had someone in a balloon! That was the way the movie version went but not at Deertrees on Friday night.
Two of the five performers were Southern Maine college students. Both Brittany Burke (Aouda) and Luis Del Valle (Passepartout) proved that they belonged on stage with the regulars.
Nicholas Schroeder (Phileas Fogg) and Paul Haley (Detective Fix) were amazing. They fit their roles perfectly.
William McDonough played a whole bunch of parts very nicely.
I highly recommend this show. It’s clean, entertaining, and wonderfully presented.
The crowd? There are three other performances scheduled (July 2, 7, and 9) so maybe more will come. It does cost $22 without big-star actors and actresses.
Distractions? Plenty of frog “activity” going on outside the theatre. Closing the windows helped but hopefully the frogs’ mating season will have passed before the other shows go on.
As I said above, the acting is terrific and the presentation is wonderful. See it if you can.