Around the World in 80 Days – Review

Delightful. If I had to describe this show in one word (oh don’t worry, as if I’d REALLY stop at one word, please) I’d have to say that this show embodies the very essence of the word delightful. California Theatre Center’s Summer Repertory may in fact be the most underrated arts entity in the Bay Area and they have impressed yet again with this light, fun and yes….delightful production of the classic Jules Vern story, Around the World in 80 Days.

A precedence of excellence has long been established in my eyes for this company and be it classic or contemporary, comedy or drama, I’m always excited to sit in the audience at a CTC Summer Rep show. Along with my high regard for CTC, I saw a fantastic production of this show just a few years ago at San Jose Rep and so I knew it had great potential to please but, I was interested to see if I’d like it as much the second time around with a significantly lower budget.

Part of the massive charm of this production is attributed to the surprises both in the script as well as in the stage interpretation and so I’ll refrain from giving any of those away. I will say though, that this cast in a joy to watch. Playing multiple roles, constructing sets in front of our eyes, becoming other technical elements, these cast members are experts at making logistical chaos look easy. This scaled down version is still stunning and maybe even more amazing because of its scaled down approach.

Noel Wood’s facial expressions, Justin Karr’s deadpan straight man, the distinct vocal and physical characterization of each member of the ensemble, the agility of the cast to complete I don’t know how many quick changes and the clever, detailed staging, all contribute to the great success that is this production. This show, this cast, they bring out the happy in me. What a pleasure and an honor to be in the presence of people who do their jobs so well and clearly enjoy their jobs so much.

Around the World in 80 Days is family friendly (probably children 8 and older would enjoy it most) and receives  4 ½ jewels in the tiara out of 5 from me. Around the World is just one of four shows playing in true repertory fashion (many of the actors in this show are in 2 or more shows) over the next several weeks in Sunnyvale. Do not wait, buy a subscription, and enjoy all four shows, the caliber of production will surprise and…delight you.

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