By Laura Eppler
Around the World in 80 Days is a delightful journey of whimsy. The five incredibly talented cast members, who together played dozens of roles, seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. And it showed. Between their physical antics, playful posing, and dancing, and their word play and hilarious mispronunciations, the show entertained non-stop.
The actors occasionally engaged members of the audience, who relished their moments in the spotlight and were pretty comical themselves. Double entendre humored patrons’ sophisticated sides, and the slapstick silliness was fun for everyone.
Our lively cast of characters travels by land, sea, and even elephant so protagonist Phileas Fogg can hopefully win a bet by circling the globe in fewer than 80 days. During their travels, the group faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles at every turn. The pressure of meeting a seemingly impossible time deadline and the specter of Fogg losing his fortune in the attempt, makes their voyage frantic and uproarious to watch. The loyalty and misguided bumblings of Phileas’ servant, Passepartout, and the sweet romantic subplot between Fogg and Aouda round out the production.
The raucous spirit evoked by Around the World in 80 Days was in stark incongruity to the dramatic poignancy of Les Miserables, which was playing concurrently at DeSales University’s Labuda Center. But there were notable points of similarity between them. Both represented incredibly high-quality performances that were clearly relished by guests. And both demonstrated the great fortune that we enjoy here in the Lehigh Valley to have such a vibrant performing arts community.