The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings








Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp London London Review
Around the World in Eighty Days and The Mother

I come home exhausted from the pub and what do I find? Politics! — Nicolai Vessovchikov in The Mother
Around the World in Eighty Days and The Mother
Eugene Washington as Phineas Fogg in grey top hat and Joseph Wicks as Passepartout (Photo: Sheila Burnett)
With two diverse productions the same cast present on Thursdays through Sundays, throughout August at 6pm the musical tale of Phineas Fogg's adventure in the race to win the bet and circumnavigate the world in eighty days, and at 8pm Mark Ravenhill's new adaptation of Berthold Brecht's rarely produced play The Mother.

As a director Phil Willmott has long been able to conjure spectacle out of very little by way of resources and this season's events are no exception. The musical version of the Jules Verne classic is a delight, with songs composed by Phil and Annemarie Lewis Thomas. There are appearances from Queen Victoria (Natalie Harman) and Sherlock Holmes (Benjamin O'Mahony) and the Indian princess Aouda (Suzanne Ahmet) accompanies Phineas Fogg (Eugene Washington) and Passepartout (Joseph Wicks) for much of their journey after she is rescued from her dead husband's funeral pyre in India.

Fogg's itinerary is fraught with more problems that the London Underground on a weekend as train lines die out, boats are missed but ingenious solutions are offered. Blink and you will miss the sand dancers of Egypt, the cast fanning themselves in the heat of the Indian jungle, but the gun slingers of the Wild West swagger wide kneed and the highlight of the show musically for me was the song "Get Another Wife" from the numerous wives of Salt Lake City Mormon farmer and bigamist Hicks (the splendidly sonorous Hadrian Delacey).

Eugene Washington is a tongue in cheek stuff shirt serious Victorian gentleman and his servant played by Joseph Wicks is into scrapes, an enfant mechant. The action is choreographed and great fun as improvised steam trains and miniature hot air balloons are carried over the stage. Every member of the cast works hard and the result is a diverting production for all the family.

By way of contrast The Mother is about the politicalisation of a Russian peasant woman Pelegea Vlassova (Nicky Goldie) after her son Pavel (Alistair Hoyle) becomes a political activist and she sees the injustice of the regime. It is an epic but human story of perseverance set against the grinding poverty of the Russian peasants before the revolution. Ravenhill's adaptation has clarity and exposition and the result is more involving that the ordeal for me that is Mother Courage. There are rousing revolutionary songs from Richard Norris who also plays guitar and Pelegea will participate for the revolutionary cause culminating in waving the enormous red flag, the banner symbolising the struggle. Phil Willmott and Mark Ravenhill will both play Nicolai Vessovchikov, Pelegea's kindly and quirky employer. This production with its adult themes, despite the outdoors setting would not really be recommended for the squirming, fidgeting, distracting under tens.

Subscribe to our FREE email updates with a note from editor Elyse Sommer about additions to the website -- with main page hot links to the latest features posted at our numerous locations. To subscribe, E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message -- if you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
Around the World in Eighty Days
Freely adapted from the novel by Jules Verne by Phil Willmott
Original songs by Annemarie Lewis Thomas based on tunes by Phil Willmott
Directed by Phil Willmott
The Mother
Translated by Mark Ravenhill from a literal translation by Marc Funda
With music by Theo Holloway and Richard Norris
Directed by Phil Willmott

With: Eugene Washington, Joseph Wicks, Suzanna Ahmet, Briony Price, Nicky Goldie, Hadrian Delacey, Benjamin O'Mahony, Alistair Hoyle, Natalie Harman, Richard Norris, Robert Donald
Design: Charlie Cridlan
Choreography: Briony Price
Lighting: Hansjðrd Schmidt
Sound: Theo Holloway
Musical Direction: Richard Norris and Simon Pollard
Running time: Eighty Days One hour 10 minutes with no interval The Mother One hour 30 minutes with no interval
Performances Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until end of August. Eighty Days at 6pm and The Mother at 8pm
A Steam Industry free theatre production
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 5th August July 2011 performances at The Scoop, open arena at City Hall, More London, SE1 (Tube: London Bridge)
  • Il Stu
    Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
    • I agree with the review of Around the World in Eighty Days and The Mother
    • I disagree with the review of Around the World in Eighty Days and The Mother
    • The review made me eager to see Around the World in Eighty Days and The Mother
    Click on the address link E-mail:
    Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

    Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email . . . also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

    London Theatre Walks

    Peter Ackroyd's  History of London: The Biography

    London Sketchbook

    tales from shakespeare
    Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
    Click image to buy.
    Our Review

    ©Copyright 2011, Elyse Sommer.
    Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from