The Column Online



by Mark Brown
An adaptation of the novel by Jules Verne

Stage West

Directed by Jerry Russell
Set Design by Jen Schultes
Costume Design by Michael Robinson and Dallas Costume Shoppe
Lighting Design by Michael O-Brien
Sound Design by Dana Schultes
Props/Set D-cor by Lynn Lovett


Jakie Cabe - Passepartout, John Sullivan

Dwight Greene - Gauthier Ralph, British Consul, Director of
Police, Priest, Sir Francis, Judge Obadiah, Chinese Broker,
Ship Clerk, Bunsby, Proctor, Engineer, Mudge, clerk, Speedy,
Ship Engineer, Train Clerk

Carissa Jade Olsen- James Forster, Newspaper Boy, Priest, Aouda

Cliff Stephens - Andrew Stuart, Detective Fix, Priest, Indian Conductor, Elephant Owner, Young Parsi, Oysterpuff, U.S.
Conductor, Reverend Wilson-s Servant

Paul Taylor - Phileas Fogg

Reviewed Performance: 8/25/2012

Reviewed by Elaine Plybon, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Jules Verne's novel, Around the World in 80 Days, follows the adventures of Phileas Fogg and his servant, Passepartout, as they attempt to win a wager. So, too, does the stage adaptation of the novel, currently being performed at Stage West in Fort Worth.

Mark Brown, the author of the play, skillfully showcased the highlights of Fogg's journey while providing numerous opportunities for entertaining comedy. The small cast and crew of this production expertly carried the audience along on the journey.

The set, designed by Jen Schultes and furnished by Lynn Lovett, consisted of one area which served as the backdrop for every location. The colorful artwork on the walls and floor, along with a spinning clock and a lit destination sign, helped to provide contextual support to the many locations depicted throughout the show. One especially clever use of props provided the particularly hilarious suggestion of an elephant. I'm not going to spoil how this was accomplished, but I guarantee it was memorable.

Lighting design by Michael O'Brian was always appropriate and added dimension to the set by providing multiple areas for the action to be played out and for lines to be delivered. Sound design by Dana Schultes consisted of recorded music to suggest the location of the action.

The costumes were well designed. Michael Robinson along with Dallas Costume Shoppe provided attire for the characters that were both period and acceptable for the locales in which they were worn, although characters were often seen sporting the same outfit throughout the show.

The cast, which consisted of four men and one woman, expertly guided the audience through a fast-paced, hilariously comedic journey by train, boat, elephant, and on foot. Each cast member, with the exception of Paul Taylor (Phileas Fogg), portrayed multiple roles in a light-hearted, yet purposeful way.

Carissa Jade Olsen portrayed James Forster, Newspaper Boy, and Aouda. My favorite of these roles was the Newspaper Boy, who stepped in at meaningful moments to add historical background. Her portrayal of Aouda was always in character, but the subdued role did not reveal her energy in the way the Newspaper Boy did. Occasionally, Olsen's accent would slip away from the intended English or Indian one, but this did not detract from the experience of witnessing her performance.

Dwight Greene did an exceptional job of creating a separate persona for each character he depicted. Whether he was a ship engineer, Director of Police, or a Chinese Broker, Greene gave each character its own, entertaining personality. I found myself smiling each time the spotlight found him.

Cliff Stephens was a joy to watch. He was also adept at creating a fully developed personality for each of his characters. As the Detective, he amusingly attempted to foil Fogg's plans at every location.

Jakie Cabe's portrayal of Passepartout, Fogg's servant, was very well done. His consistency in the details, even in the pronunciation of Detective Fix's name as he misunderstood it, made the role especially fun to watch. His performance was genuine and not overdone.

Paul Taylor, in the lead role of Phileas Fogg, was also consistent in his performance. Fogg is a mathematician who expects everything to follow a logical progression and Taylor's approach to this role seemed just as meticulous. From his facial expressions, to the skillful movement of his body during scenes on the train, Taylor's portrayal of Fogg was extremely believable, even in the midst of the comic farce that surrounded him.

Each cast member did a fantastic job carrying the audience through the hilarious situations that the characters found themselves in throughout their chaotic journey. As a team, the actors repeatedly drew raucous laughter from the audience. The situations they found themselves in were treated with a dry humor and somber expressions that enhanced the depth of entertainment. The fast pace and energy they performed with made the time fly.

Stage West's production of Around the World in 80 Days is definitely worth seeing. It provides a thoroughly enjoyable evening and a break from the chaos in our own worlds.

Stage West
821 West Vickery Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76104
Plays through September 30th, 2012

Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm,
Sundays at 3:00 pm

Tixs are $26.00-$30.00 for adults, $20.00-$24.00 for seniors and $15.00 for students/Under30. Full-time students may purchase ticket, if available, for $5.00 30 minutes before curtain.

Pay What You Can nights are Aug. 26th and 30th. Tickets are available only an hour before curtain. Su