Around the World in 80 Days
The theater might cause some to stray away. Thoughts of yawning and boredom play across minds. But the Hippodrome’s Around the World in 80 Days is not typical theater.
The year is 1872. Train is the mode of travel. India is still British soil. Director Lauren Caldwell turns this into a bizarre setting – colorful drapes stream across the ceiling, adorned by Christmas lights and paper lanterns. Two small fish tanks outline the sides, representing travel by sea. Clocks tick in the background, glowing and spinning fast. This is a place where five actors play 39 characters, utilizing every aspect of the stage, including the audience.
Around the World’s comedy doesn’t necessarily come from the situations, but absurdity. Five actors play 39 riotous characters, meaning they quickly adapt their wardrobe on stage for each portrayal. Whether they switched hats or wear stereotypical clothing, laughing commenced. They’re not limited to humans, though. When in India, Sir Francis joins Detective Fix, Phileas and Passepartout. Their train cannot travel any further, so the three go by elephant. The costume? Each represents a different part of the elephant – flopping ears, legs and face. The play relies on audiences’ imaginations and ability to let loose. To represent traveling by train, the actors took out glowing cylinder frames and moved them in a chugging motion. They also hopped on trampolines to depict the shaking, delivering even more laughs.If it weren’t for the actors’ incredible ability to never break character, Around the World would not have been successful.
Dozing off or texting away isn’t an option during Around the World. The unconventional use of imagination brings roars of laughter as the actors walk through the tightly packed aisles, up wooden stair rails and shoot water. It’s a tale of adventure and romance, but most of all, lightheartedness. The play opens today and runs through May 9 at the Hippodrome. Tickets range from $25-30 for general audiences and $12 for students.
- Nicole La Hoz
First person to comment or retweet this wins free tickets to opening night tonight 4/16 at 8pm.