Around the World in 80 Days
By Alfred Hickling for The Guardian
After 79-and-a-half days on the road, Jules Verne's hero, Phileas Fogg, sails into Liverpool, needing only to meet the London connection to arrive back in Greenwich. It could never happen today. Circumnavigating the globe would not be much of a problem, but imagine having to rely on Virgin for the final leg.
Like Fogg's newfangled hot-air balloon, Phil Wilmott's jolly production follows the principle of uplift. The scientific aspect of Verne's writing is barely touched upon, still less his veiled satire on imperialism. But it's Christmas, it's cold outside and it's perfectly splendid to visit Bombay, Hong Kong and Idaho for seven or eight minutes apiece.
Phileas Fogg was the original armchair traveller, the difference being that he took his armchair with him. With only 80 days to travel the world, he could hardly waste time seeing any of it, and Stephen Beckett's commanding, stiff-upper-lipped performance creates a very convincing impression of a cold fish in hot water. click for more