May 3, 2010

Around the World in 80 Days

(The five man cast of Around the World in 80 Days)

The Jules Verne classic "Around the World in 80 Days" is the Indiana Repertory Theatre's final show of the 2009/10 season.

Phileas Fogg (Jeff Cummings) decides to travel around the globe in only 80 days on a spur-of-the-moment bet. Cummings' capture's the a-typical Englishman's attitude to a T. He's all business with a stoic sensibility. Fogg's trusty French servant, Passepartout, played by La Shawn Banks, travels with him and provides a steady stream of slapstick hilarity.


(La Shawn Banks and John Lister)

With only five actors to play dozens of characters, the talented cast was constantly switching wigs and costumes to cleverly disguise themselves with a new identity. Zack Buell has a particularly trying time playing (according to the playbill) "everybody else." He literally played a different person in almost every scene, becoming the show's chameleon.

(An "elephant" in the jungle in Around the World in 80 Days)

The set is unbelievably versatile. It has to represent half a dozen countries, train cars, an apartment, ship decks and more. Using the simplest of elements, set designer Kevin Depinet managed to make each new location come alive. He relied on the audience to provide the imagination and with a covered and raised table we saw an elephant thundering through the jungle. It was truly a wondrous accomplishment.

(Minita Gandhi and Jeff Cummings in the beautiful costumes
from Around the World in 80 Days)


The music, all original compositions by Andy Hansen, is everything a good score should be. It lingers just beneath the surface, never quite calling attention to itself, but always moving the audience from one emotion to the next. The costumes, designed by Rachel Anne Healy, are yet one more excellent element in this tour-de-force show.

The show is a delightful, fun adventure and a wonderful way to close another great season at the IRT.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Sunday, May 16 on IRT's Mainstage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252.

Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com Prices begin at $29 with discounts available for students.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois Street and southbound Capitol Avenue.


Photos courtesy of Julie Currie Photography

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