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Our winter play Around the World in 80 Days certainly delighted our audiences! This well executed romp around the world was down to the hard work and dedication of the cast, crew and production team so a huge thank you must go out to each and everyone of them.

If you were lucky enough to see this whizzbang tour of the world then you will have been delighted by the colour, energy and skill that was amply demonstrated by the team at the Hippodrome, and if you don't believe us you can check out what NODA thought of it in their review here

Are you ready to be whi​sked away on a whirlwind adventure of calamitous fun?

Around the world in 80 Days is shaping up to be a barrel of laughs at the Hippodrome Theatre this winter! Come along with us as we take you across continents and into the most ridiculous of capers! It promises to be fast-paced escapade for all the family so book your tickets now - Don't miss out!

In Rehearsal

The cast have been having an amazing time in the preparations for 80 Days, and it isn't your average play! There have been new skills galore for this wonderful bunch - Circus skills, fire throwing, dancing! It is one not to be missed!

Interview with the director

We sat down with director James Claxton to find out more about Around the World in 80 Days, how he's finding the process of directing such a large productions and what inspires his long involvement with the Hippodrome Theatre.

Why 80 Days? 

After taking on the role of Play Committee Chair, I offered to direct the December play. We were asked by the President of the society to put on a ‘big, family show’, and after reading a handful of plays on the committee’s shortlist; this was clearly the only one to put on the Hippodrome mainstage for the enjoyment of our audiences in the run up to Christmas! It’s a funny romp around the world and presents lots of opportunity for music and dance, comedy and laughter! Perfect fun for the long winter evenings!

It’s quite an old book. What can a modern-day audience take from the story? 

1) If you’re going to wager a bet make sure you’re going to win. 2) Love can be found in the most unexpected of places. 3) The world has got a lot smaller since this book was written!

The Hippodrome has been producing a lot of classical books-to-play adaptations recently, how’s that been received?

Pretty well I’d say! Since we reopened our doors last year we have hosted some wonderfully large audiences for all our productions. Feedback from the public has been great and I believe, post-pandemic, that people are hungry for live entertainment once again

If you’d have been cast in the show, who would you have played and why? 

As Fogg is described in the script as fortyish and handsome, rich, mysterious etc…..obviously him. But actually I think I would have enjoyed playing ones of the many hat-swapping, ‘multi-character’ comedy roles.

This is so much more than your average play, what’s been your favourite part of the directing process so far? And is there anything you’ve not enjoyed? 

I’ve completely loved pushing the boundaries of a typical play, introducing clowning and circus elements and well as underscoring the whole show. Working with a choreographer has been a new experience…we’ve had such fun in rehearsals. Not enjoyed? Erm...perhaps trying to wrap my head around 50+ different characters split between 9 actors? Not an easy task!

If you could give our audience one hint of what to expect from watching 80 Days, what would it be? Any sneak-peaks about what they’re going to experience? 

Fun, wonder, circus, comedy. Trains and boats and more trains and more boats. And lots of suitcases!

This isn’t your first time directing – what are your proudest achievements to date? 

 I have to say I was super proud of my first foray into directing – “Breaking the Code” in 2005 – a boldly-staged, different type play from the ‘usual’ that told the tumultuous life story of Alan Turing. I was also delighted to direct “Nobody’s Perfect” in 2012 – working with a superb cast and a hilarious script. And finally “Hobson’s Choice” (2018)….a really funny, classic play that I had read at high school and loved for many years, one day hoping I would get to play Willie Mossop. I ended up directing it instead to much acclaim!

What got you into theatre - how long have you been involved and is it always on the stage? 

At the age of 9, I appeared in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Hippodrome Youth Theatre. As a teenager, I was involved with school productions and pantomimes before joining TAODS almost 30 years ago. As a young actor I appeared in many plays, musicals and youth theatre performances. Following a theatre degree at Uni I came back to the Hipp, whereupon I started to direct or else do lighting design, stage design, props and publicity, when not involved ‘onstage’. Over the last 12 months I have stage-managed two productions, designed one, prompted for another and appeared in Evita the Musical.

Tell us one thing you love about the Hippodrome and how you got involved with Tod Hip in the first place?

I love the passion people (my friends and theatre colleagues) have for the Hip! Everybody is a volunteer and, though sometimes we’re like a dysfunctional family, we come together every time and deliver fantastic shows time and time again. I met my best friend through the Hippodrome! My first performance on the Hippodrome stage was in St. Joseph’s Pantomime, Cinderella in 1992 - I think?!

Janet Spooner as the persistent, yet slightly incompetent Inspector Fix!

James Young as Phineas Fogg and Ceri Garnett as Aouda

back left Rosie Hodsdon, back right Sam Cresswell and centre Joe Marsden as the calamitous but equally loveable hero Passepartout! 

Casting, Casting 1,2,3

After some fun and well attended get togethers we are delighted to announce our ensemble for our up coming whirlwind of an adventure Around the World in 80 Days!

We're welcoming back familiar faces and welcoming some new ones too, which is just fantastic! So without further ado your delectable ensemble with the job of bring you over 50 characters are:

Bethany Suthers

Ceri Garnett

Hamish Heald

James Young

Janet Spooner

Jennie Bailey

Joe Marsden

Rosie Hodsdon

Sam Cresswell

Stay tuned to find out more on who's who later in the year.

TAODS is proud to present "Around the Word in 80 Days".

The fabulously wealthy Victorian gentleman Phileas Fogg wagers his life's fortune that he can circumnavigate the globe in just eighty days.

Along with his hapless valet Passepartout, he sets out on a dazzling escapade that takes him from the misty alleys of London to the exotic subcontinent and on to the Wild West as they race against the clock on a dizzying succession of trains, steamers, a wind-propelled sledge and even an elephant!

Laura Eason's celebrated adaptation of Jules Verne's classic novel packs in more than 50 unforgettable characters in this fun family friendly escapade.

So don't delay - book your tickets today for what is sure to be a whirlwind adventure of travel, laughter and daring do! 

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