Hop aboard Phileas Fogg’s hot-air balloon as Hedgerow Theatre Company’s small troupe of actors take on a global collection of carnival characters in Mark Brown’s imaginative and theatrical re-imagining of Jules Verne’s 1873 adventure, Around the World in 80 Days, running July 6 to August 13. All the world’s a stage, literally, in this theatrical tour-de-force.
It is directed by master farceur Damon Bonetti, who helmed the Hedgerow’s phenomenally popular production of Patrick Barlow’s The 39 Steps, as well as the hit summer farces Boeing Boeing and No Sex Please, We’re British.
Around the World in 80 Days returns familiar funny faces and puts them in an exciting, and incredibly silly, rollercoaster spectacle. Danger, romance and comic surprises abound as five actors – portraying 42 characters – traverse four continents in this race against the clock. Zoran Kovcic (Boeing Boeing and No Sex Please, We’re British), Mark Swift (Boeing Beoing and No Sex Please, We’re British), Hanna Gaffney (Boeing Boeing), and Sarah Knittel (The Servant of Two Masters) take on the mountainous task of creating a world of characters.
“It’s a fantastic adventure story with wonderful characters, but it’s also the story about the breaking down of barriers – both literally and figuratively – as an appreciation is gained of other cultures and Fogg learns how to care and to love others,” said Bonetti. “It’s a fun, fast–paced, exciting adventure – full of quick changes and quirky characters – a classic summertime farce – destined to become a Hedgerow favorite.”
The intrepid adventurer Phileas Fogg, played by Producing Artistic Director Jared Reed, with his loyal valet, Passepartout, agrees to an outrageous wager that puts his life and fortune at risk, as he embarks on a grand journey from Victorian London through Asia and across the Pacific in precisely 80 days.
“My first memory of this story was reading it at 10 years old. I love this adaptation. It captures that feeling from my youth. It is funny and adventurous and a great challenge for five actors….It’s humorous, romantic, and as witty as it is silly,” said Reed.
Stampeding elephants, raging typhoons, runaway trains, and unabashed slapstick fill this farcical adventure from start to finish. Hedgerow Theatre tackles the challenge of Verne’s epic adventure with its talented cast in its beautiful rustic setting and brings the joy and humour of Brown’s adaptation to life.
“How do we travel across the world on stage and keep a story moving forward, allowing the humor of the piece to be honest? That’s what we are attempting to find out,” said Reed.
The first preview performance of Around the World in 80 Days is Wednesday, July 5, at 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Friday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. There will be a Wednesday matinee on August 2, at 2 p.m., and Fogg’s balloon lands for a final time on Sunday, August 13, at 2 p.m.
Adult ticket prices are $35, with a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under, as well as for students, are $20. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).