BWW Review: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS at Théâtre Mogador
The team that just brought us The Adventures of Tom Sawyers, which had two runs, last season are already back at Théâtre Magador with a new musical: Around the World in 80 Days.
This is the third collaboration by Double D Productions, Ludovic-Alexandre Vidal (books and lyrics) and Julien Salvia (music). Most of the creative team is made up of the same artist who worked on Tom Sawyers too. The result is dazzling.Also returning are Larry Blank and Antoine Lefort, who handle the orchestration. Blank, veteran of The West End and Broadway and a Tony Award Nominee for his work on Catch Me If You Can, White Christmas, and The Drowsy Chaperone, is a surefire bet. While we aren't lucky enough to have an orchestra on stage, we can hold high expectations for the soundtrack. Blank's orchestrations oozes Broadway, matching perfectly with Salvia's very traditionally tuneful and charming new score.
Even though they are unfortunately pre-recorded for technical reasons, we can also note the tap dancing numbers choreographed by Elodie Hec, previously an assistant choreographer for the Oscar-winning film The Artist. Her work nicely complements the choreography of Johan Nus, who has faithfully worked for the dynamic Vidal/Salvia duo for years.
David Rozen's set designs follow in the same vein as those he made for The Matchstick Girl and Tom Sawyer. But an another unfortunate hangover from Sawyer are the cheap wigs, which clash with the overall professionalism of the production.
That said, the format of the show is also similar to Tom Sawyer, with eleven actors on stage. We can only rejoice at the quality of the actors. Véronique Hatat (Grease) is one of the rare holdovers from the actual cast of Tom Sawyer, as is Guillaume Beaujolais (The Matchstick Girl) and Harold Simon (The Matchstick Girl and Jack the Ripper). The latter has the heavy task of embodying the hero Philéas Fogg.
In addition to talented actors, we have some of the most promising singers in Paris, such as Clémence Bouvier (We Will Rock You and Little Red Riding Hood), Max Carpentier (Cats and Chicago), Ludivine Bigeni (Beauty and the Beast and The Ball of the Vampires), Thomas Bernier (Mistinguett and Grease), and Alix Berruet (Mamma Mia! and Grease). Less experienced but just as talented are Alexis Mahi (The Red Ball), who wowed us in Stolen Moments, and Thomas Mathieu who has performed in several shows at Disneyland Paris.
But the star of the show is undoubtedly Guillaume Sentou, who won a Molière Award for Best Male Upcomer for his performance of Edmond in Alexis Michalik's eponymous play. He takes on the emblematic role of Passepartout, who accompanies Philéas Fogg in his wild adventure. He's a catch for the show and will hopefully attract a wider audience.
After touring in December, Around the World in 80 days arrived at Théâtre Mogador earlier this month, and it's already one of the major events of the 2019-20 season, to be reprised during spring break and very likely during the holiday season.