Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Around The World in 80 Days"

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"Around The World in 80 Days"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Ocean State Theatre Company's second show of their fourth season in Warwick is "Around the World in 80 Days'' which is based on Jules Verne's 1873 novel and this version is written by Mark Brown. In 1872, on a gentleman's wager, Phileas Fogg and his French manservant Passepartout attempt to transverse the globe in just eighty days. Phileas is an adventurer who bets he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days or less. The two of them encounter strange new countries, colorful (and at times hostile) characters, and even love. But with bandits, a damsel in distress and transportation problems around every corner, will he be able to make the deadline? Danger, romance and comic surprises abound as this adventure is brought to this stage with five multitalented performers playing 39 different characters from around the world. They encounter many adventures including an untoilet-trained elephant, an opium den, and a typhoon on the sea as well as crossing paths with scalawags, finding romance, and traveling cross country by train. Director Mark Torres weaves this tale into a comic romp that keeps the interest of the audience from start to finish. His five phenomenal performers mesmerize the audience with their talent from switching from one character to another in a blink of an eye with astounding accents to go along with the different characters they play! The marvelous set by Michael Martineau adds to the visual enjoyment of the various locations this tale takes us, making the scene changes seamless. The lighting is fantastic by Anthony Reed.

Mark's blocking of this epic show is marvelous and he brings out the best in his performers. He has them climbing all around the two story set, transforming it into a train, a ship, and many different locations. The elephant sequence is splendid to watch. Russell Garrett commands the stage as this proper English adventurer, Phileas Fogg. He is aloof as well as prim and proper as he continues to try to win his wager. His closing scenes have to be seen to be believed when the character finally lets down his hair. Matt Jones is the biggest scene stealer as the Frenchman. His timing is impeccable and his accent is superb, too. Minita Gandhi, Jonathan Fisher and David Groccia round out the cast playing multiple roles with bigger than life antics as each one. To try to explain each character would take forever. They should all be commended on a job very well done. So for a terrifically acted and directed show that takes you around the world in an hour and a half, be sure to catch "Around the World in 80 Days" to find out whether he made it in time or not? Tell them Tony sent you.

"Around The World in 80 Days" (4 - 22 November)
1245 Jefferson Boulevard, WARWICK RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide