BWW Reviews: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS Opens in Cincinnati
The Ensemble Theater Company (ETC) took on a daunting task with their production of Around the World in 80 Days. This show would normally include a cast of 30 plus performers, I would assume, and the ETC did this with only 17. The production is suppose to be all over the world, meaning that the set and actors must all look like they are a certain country or from a certain country. ETC tried to accomplish this with only a cast of 17 actors that did not include all of the different ethnicities called for (though they did have a few) and with a barely changing the set. This production of Around the World in 80 Days was pretty good for all it had to accomplish. Did ETC accomplish everything, of course not but no production could unless it was a national tour or something.
Let's kick this review into gear with the good. Michael G. Bath was entertaining as Passepartout. His role was the comic relief of the show and he made the audience laugh everytime he was on stage. Annie Fitzpatrick as Inspector Fix was the best actor in the cast. She was able to make that character intriguing instead of annoying. Overall, the supporting cast, or company, was pretty good. They sang well, although they overpowered the soloist a lot during most songs, and handled playing different characters and having different accents well. Torie Wiggins as Aoudo had the best performance of the night during the song, "Strong Wind, Strong Woman." That song was beautiful and made me wish only the girls and Wiggins sang every song in the show.
The not so good. This section is technically the bad, however nothing in this section was bad, it just could have been better. Ken Early as Phileas Fogg was just okay. Early was basically in every scene for this show but there was something off about his performance. He was stiff, didn't show much emotion, and his voice never changed to signify any change in emotion. There was only one time when something was going on inside him and that when he was singing "A Gentleman." There was also no live bad, it was a recording of the music that was used. I understand why ETC did this but I'm not a fan, there is nothing that can replace live music.
Overall, this production is a great show to see for the holidays; it's fun and mostly entertaining and the kids will probably like it. The sets were awesome and the way they used the set pieces was inventive. Definitely check this production out if you're looking for something to do this holiday season.
Around the World in 80 Days runs through January 4, 2014 at the Ensemble Theater and is directed by D. Lynn Meyers.
Photo Credit: Ryan Kirtz