|The Scoop, More London|
This outdoor play was part of More London Dangerous Journey season. In its ninth year (though I will admit this was my first time) the company and offers free summer theatre and contains two plays, all with the same cast. This one, was on at 6pm and was the more family friendly play. It is the famous story by Jules Verne of Phileaus Fogg and his companion Passepatout's efforts to go around the world in..well eighty days. I'm not as familiar with story as I should be. In fact my only memories of the story involve Willy Fogg, the lion from the cartoon;my companion, who being slightly older remembered it from the TV and not some random VHS that was in her house like I did, she was also remembered he was a lion and I didn't (I've been thinking for all these years he was dog?)
Fogg (Eugene Washington) and Passpartout (Joseph Wicks) only have an hour and fifteen minutes to get around the world, the programme notes are keen to state that this is a shortened version of a production that was on at the RSC ten years ago but it didn't feel rushed. To be fair I do have the attention span of some of the small children in the audience and I'm not sure I could have tolerated Princess Aouda's (Suzanne Ahmet) and Fogg's 'Will they, won't they' love song in a Chinese temple for longer than necessary.
That was my issue with it, there were a lot of songs. A lot of complicated, not very memorable songs but I couldn't be too grumpy mcgrumps about it because the performances were fun and really good, it is easy to assume that this will be Am-Dram and thus really poor but these are all professional actors with lots of experience and it shows. They genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves and there was the odd jokes for the adults (like the naming of the local Indian elephant, who wouldn't mate with the females, after Passpatout's obviously gay friend), tackling the moral issues of Sati and a song about Mormon wives (again the programme is keen to state that they predate Book of Mormon) Ultimately this may not be the best production ever but it is such a great story that would be miraculous to mess it up.
Also, if you hadn't guessed already...it was FREE! and it is always lovely to see people of all ages coming together to enjoy a show and yes, I might have cheered when Princess Aouda and Fogg got it together...