Review: ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ by Marin Theatre Company’s Series for Young Audiences (***1/2)

(Charles Kruger)

(Rating: ***1/2)

(from l to r) Rami Margron as Passepartout struggles with David Abrams as Fix of the Yard in "Around the World in 80 Days". Photo Credit: Marin Theatre Company.
(from l to r) Rami Margron as Passepartout struggles with David Abrams as Fix of the Yard in “Around the World in 80 Days”. Photo Credit: Marin Theatre Company.
This reviewer is a voting associate member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFBATCC)
This reviewer is a voting associate member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFBATCC)

(“Around the World in Eighty Days” plays at Marin Theatre Company on Saturday and Sunday, January 17th and 18th, with performances at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm). 

It is always a pleasure to see professional theatre being produced for youngsters, and this production of “Around the World in Eighty Days” is an excellent example.

When I attended, the pre-teen audience was utterly enthralled and the adults pleasantly entertained by a fine professional cast.

Toby Hulce’s clever script requires only three actors, who transform themselves into multiple characters as they pull costume pieces and props from traveling trunks strategically placed around the stage. The stage is dominated by a large transparent clock, lit from behind, which allows for some very clever shadow play. Ample physical humor, puppetry, repeated jokes, mugging and disguise keep things moving.

The company features three excellent professional actors, with impressive physical theatre skills. As Fix of the Yard, “master of disguise”, MTC teaching artist David Abrams is a hoot, hiding behind a ridiculous phony moustache that fools nobody, to the delight of the children. As Mr. Phileas Fogg, Cassidy Brown displays the impressive comedic chops that have been previously seen throughout the bay area from the Marin Shakespeare Company (“The Tempest”) to TheatreWorks on the peninsula (“The 39 Steps”). Rami Margron’s Passepartout takes the cake for physical comedy.

Rami Margron as Passepartout, Cassidy Brown as Mr. Phileas Fogg, and David Abrams as Fix of the Yard. Photo Credit: Marin Theatre Company.
David Abrams as Fix of the Yard, Cassidy Brown as Mr. Phileas Fogg, and Rami Margron as Passepartout. Photo Credit: Marin Theatre Company.

I saw the play in the company of two insightful young ladies, Nadia (age 12) and Mila (age 9). Nadia liked “… that it was very original with just three actors [who] got to play multiple roles.” Mila reports that “the shadow puppets were my favorite”, and she also liked the “weird disguises” of Fix. Both girls give the play a thumbs up.

“Around the World in Eighty Days” is only slightly marred by some unfortunate stereotyping of native Indians. Conscientious parents may want to discuss this with their children.

Otherwise, this production is a delight and highly recommended. For further information, click here.

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“Around the World in Eighty Days” by Toby Hulse, produced by Marin Theatre Company. Director: Daunielle Rasmussen. Sound designer and compser: Liz Ryder. Scenic Designer: Andrew Kaufman. Lighting Designer: Danny Osburn. Costume Designer: Lisa Claybaugh. Props Artisan: Santina Moran-Seaborne.

Fix of the Yard: David Abrams. Passepartout: Rami Margron. Mr. Phileas Fogg: Cassidy Brown. 

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