We were all marvellously entertained last Friday and Saturday by Class 8’s most amazing and thoroughly delightful presentation of Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ – based on a script which allowed for many original changes by the class. With charm, wit, and their own obvious enjoyment, they carried us off on their journey: we accompanied Phileas Fogg and his faithful servant Passepartout – sneakily followed by the perpetually perspiring Inspector Fix - and soon to be joined by the lovely Aouda who was gallantly saved from the sacrificial flames of her elderly husband’s funeral pyre by the ever-valiant Passpartout.
From the moment of their departure the adventures began, and each one entertained us royally. The main characters – with a changing cast for Phileas Fogg and Passpartout – were superb! The three delightful passport officials who reappeared in different guises throughout the play, the circus director, elephant guide, ship’s captain, the acrobats, (including a real dog which jumped through a ring of fire momentarily stealing the show), priests, duelling soldiers, American Indians, sailors, dock-workers, a bewigged judge and, of course, the pompous Club members who laid the bet in the first place – all, all were superb! There were train rides and ship voyages; there was country and western dancing, a dramatic ‘red-Indian’ attack, a trek through the jungle and a wild storm at sea. All these gripping scenes, so well and clearly enunciated for us, were held together by a number of vital narrators who kept this 80 day adventure miraculously within the bounds of one evening, - and musicians playing harps, flutes, violins, guitars, a fife, gongs, drums, glockenspiels, bells and all manner of percussion. What a dramatically and musically gifted class!
Not seen but utterly vital to the success of the whole show were the class members who worked behind the scenes – on lighting, costumes, prompting, stage support, the stage manager himself et al.
In a hall such as ours, with no front curtain, where the innards and workings of the plays are thoroughly exposed, we saw a wonderful working together of this class, everyone alive to every moment whether acting, singing, moving the scenery or making music (we were particularly captivated by the several piano players who continued to play as the piano was rolled into ever new positions, and mostly in the dark!). There was, truly, never a dull moment.
So we thank all the young people of Class 8, their teacher, Geli, their music teacher Sandi and the parents who helped make costumes and scenery, for their wonderful gifts to us all – children, teachers, parents and friends of the school. And we don’t forget those who baked and served us so well on the nights. And imagine – we were actually served glasses of Hong Kong Sling – and none of us passed out! (although I felt a bit tingly the following day).