In a change to our usual feature, this time the trio who form the cast of our next production give their insight into what promises to be a rip-roaring show.
All three members of the cast play several characters, but their principals are Phileas Fogg (Naomi Liddle), Passepartout (Audrey Lindsay) and Inspector Fix (Chris Vian Smith)
Well, to start with (spoiler alert), I’m not actually a man, so we’ve already taken quite some artistic licence with the character! There have been so many interpretations of this famous story – the original book of course, but then the wonderful film with David Niven and even a much-loved 1980s cartoon. I figure that if Phileas Fogg can survive being portrayed as a cartoon lion he can probably take a bit of cross-casting, and it has just added to the good-natured silliness of the whole thing.
Fogg comes from such a wonderful, classic line of ‘true English gentlemen’, striding about the British Empire with a sense of adventure and a stiff upper lip. It’s been a joy to have the opportunity to have fun with that as we run from train to steamer to…well…you’ll have to come and see some of the more unusual transport options!
Passepartout has never worked for ‘a true English gentleman’ before. His notions of what this might entail – brushing Fogg’s top hat, winding up his watches, and drawing the occasional bath – are rudely interrupted by Fogg’s unexpected decision to embark upon his epic journey. However, Passepartout rises (eventually.) to the challenge, and proves himself to be a loyal and resourceful travelling companion. Occasionally, he even saves the day!
Passepartout’s trusting nature means that it takes him longer than it should to identify the tenacious Inspector Fix as a serious threat to their enterprise. But when he (again, eventually) works it all out, Passepartout challenges Fix with all the vigour and passion you would expect from a typical Frenchman.
He’s only one of nine characters that I play, but he is the principal one. He has few, if any, redeeming features and I sincerely hope the audience won’t warm to him. He’s obsessed with catching and arresting Phileas Fogg and is constantly thwarted by what he sees as petty bureaucracy. Little things, like having to obtain an arrest warrant before making an arrest, really annoy him!
And what are some of the staging challenges?
Staging challenges … are you kidding?? There are going to be some lightning costume changes – we hope. (We’ll get back to you on this, once we have our final costumes …) Other challenges we face are, for instance, staging a fight on the roof of a speeding train. This should not be a problem.
We hope they will be amused by the lightning costume changes and will be stunned that 3 actors can play 20 characters. Some of the characters are (probably) highly amusing. The play moves at a quite dizzying pace and, at times, leaves some of the cast quite breathless. (Ok, me.)
Directed by Mark Ireson, Around the World in 80 Days plays in the Main Hall Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 July at 8pm.
It’s suitable for children of 8+, and discounted family tickets are available. (Under 16s must always be accompanied by an adult regardless of ticket type)