Around The World In 80 Days…
Last night, being owed a favour, I found myself in possession of four freebies to go and see the Christmas show at the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC). I invited David, Marcus and Sarah to join me. And what a treat we had.
This year it was a musical version of Jules Verne’s Around The World In 80 Days. To say ‘musical’ is perhaps an understatement. It was a piece of visual theatre. An all-singing, all-dancing melodrama packed with verve, wit and high-powered performances. You may wonder how on earth one can stage air-born balloon chases, elephant rides, Chinese dragon parades and can-can dances at the Moulin Rouge all in the postage stamp auditorium at the BAC. And yet they achieved it. The stage was ‘thrust’ seating so we were sitting all but on the stage. The opening number had the performers singing grand forte two feet from you. A very exhilarating experience I can tell you.
As with any melodrama/pantomime you’d expect your fair share of puns and comedic songs. We had these aplenty.
Phil Willmott, the director of the show, plays the villain Captain Fix with relish; saving Bang! - the most hilarious number in the show - for himself, in which he kills every fluffy animal in the vicinity with zeal. His best line though is, “I’m six foot three. Of villainy.”
The Mormons in the US give a fantastic number about taking an extra wife. The multi-married preacher comes up with the obvious but still funny line, "Take another wife? That's big of you. No, I said that's Bigamy!"
My favourite character though was Eugene, the gay elephant. He’s very sensitive is our Eugene and is only coaxed to walk faster in the Indian jungle if sung to. And that explains why I can’t get "Yabba dabba dabba dabba dabba dabba dabba dabba said the monkey to the chimp" out of my head this morning. Arrgghh!
I great, great show though. Everyone came out beaming. For an entertaining night out what more could you want?