IT’S two relative newcomers who light up the Garrick stage in this engaging, vibrant and gloriously tongue in cheek adaptation of this globe trotting classic.
They are Jamie Sloan, a perfect piece of casting as Phileas Fogg, a buttoned up quintessential English toff and Tim Cooper as his valet, PassePartout. They made their respective debuts at this theatre in 2016 and 2018 respectively and together they make such an engaging double act I for one hope they work together again, very soon.
Sloan had me totally convinced as Fogg, a stickler for routine who takes up the offer of a daunting bet, while Cooper combines a boundless energy with a sense of comic timing that is, quite simply, exemplary.
It was pleasing to see so many children in the audience for a production that can be enjoyed by all the family, a phrase that in my experience has often been shorthand for mindless and moronic entertainment. But Director Celia Bonner’s production is perfectly paced and includes a very clever use of props to denote the various exotic locations Fogg and his trusty sidekick find themselves in.
But this is far from the Sloan and Cooper show, with the entire company providing a real antidote to these dark early autumn night.
Hot on the heels of Fogg and PassePartout is old school policeman Inspector Fix, perfectly played by the always watchable Mark Jephcott. Fix believes Fogg is a criminal on the run and he inevitably ends up embroiled in the duo’s increasingly exotic adventures.
Light entertainment at its best - make sure you book for this fantastic theatrical journey.
* Until September 29. The box office is on 0161 928 1677. Star rating - ****