ROCKCINGHAM – Thursday night the Richmond Community Theatre opened its 41st season with “Around the World in 80 days”, a classic tale by Jules Verne.
Directing the play in her seventh year at RCT was Shelly Walker. Acting in the play were Charles Turner, Angie Hough-Rush, Jason Harris, Henry Boore and Molly Greene.
Boore performs as the play’s narrator and “librarian,” with Greene serving as the “librarian assistant” and stage hand. Turner, Hough-Rush and Harris all have main characters they play, but each one has more than one role, which is somewhat of an understatement, they have many roles that they perform.
The play opened with Boore beginning to “read” the story of Around the World in 80 Days and the actors acting out the story. There are many many set changes, and it is done so in an ingenious way that guests will have to see themselves to believe.
The story begins with a robbery and murder that may or may not have been caused by a Mr. Phileas Fogg, played by Turner. Fogg later makes a bet that he can go around the world in 80 days, and he and his manservant “Passepartout”, played by Harris, start on their way. They are followed by a detective from Scotland Yard, played by Hough-Rush, who becomes convinced that Fogg committed the earlier robbery and murder.
It is a delight watching the play unfold, and audience members may find themselves pulling for Fogg and Passepartout to be able to make the trip in time and win the bet. The play runs about two and a half hours with an intermission.
The actors were pleased with how well the opening night performance went.
“I think the show went great, we had a lot of fun and the audience was fantastic”, said Hough-Rush. “I have been in several of the plays at RCT but Around the World in 80 Days” has been my hardest one yet. I have so much fun doing the different characters.”
Echoing Hough-Rush’s enthusiasm was Harris.
“No matter how many productions I am part of, I am always pleasantly surprised at how everything seems to come together on opening night,” Harris stated. “The audience’s hearty laughter is an actor’s true reward. This play has been a challenge to learn all the roles and quick costume changes, but the cast and behind the scenes crew have made it a lot of fun. I hope everyone will come out to see this hilarious comedy. “
Working backstage are Merrie Dawkins, Wayne Webb, Valerie Lunceford, Arahai Turner, and Belinda Norton. Working in the box office is Mindy Roth.
After the play, there was a reception (with much help from Pat Black), as is customary on opening night at Richmond Community Theatre.
The play will also be performed Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and there is also a performance at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The show will also follow the same schedule next weekend. Tickets are $15.