Our review of Williamson Park, The Dukes’ outdoor walkabout theatre production of Around the World in 80 Days.
An outdoor theatre performance is an experience like no other, especially one where you travel round the impressive Williamson Park. As we packed the blankets and odd emergency wet-weather item there was a definite sense of excitement (and I must add there were some experienced audience members who even packed the bottle of fizz and really embraced the prom vibe you get from being outside, perfect!)
As a young family we would definitely recommend watching a performance outside as it was a family-friendly experience, admittedly we were lucky with the great British weather. Our children enjoyed being more relaxed, especially as they could run off to the loo when needed and they made the most of running through the long grass between scenes.
Seating isn’t provided so a picnic blanket or small chair is needed – something that isn’t too difficult to carry from scene to scene.
It was evident that a lot of time and passion has gone into Around the World in 80 Days: the cast is, without exception, excellent, each set across the park was impressive, from the opening boat scene to the train journey – which the cast involved the whole audience, to the colourful dragon and Chinese lanterns and then the camp fire set at the bottom of the cliff, each scene was very striking.
Heather Phoenix takes on the role of Detective Fix, who my children thought was the baddie except that Fix is merely misguided as she is pursing Fogg. Fix does her damnedest to delay Fogg before feeling quite dismayed as she realises she was mistaken.
Aleeza Humranwala, who plays Princess Aouda really engages the audience and is a much-loved character. Sibylla Meienberg, Angelo Paragoso and Darcy Kim switch from character to character marvellously and were completely believable. And then there is Sam Jones who plays Fogg, he brings you on board and you are very much routing for him to complete his journey in time.
The performance moved along at a great pace, keeping the children entertained and engaged throughout but also appealing to the adult audience. Our 5-year-old at the end of the performance was so engrossed as Princess Aouda proposed to Phileas Fogg she shouted aloud ‘I knew it!’ leaving the audience in close proximity laughing and in awe at how invested she had become with the whole story.
There is nothing as energising as watching a play in the open air and enjoying being entertained whilst walking around the park taking in the wonderful scenery Williamson Park has to offer.
The play was entertaining from start to finish, and the closing act under the dark night blanket was beautiful. We would highly recommend you book tickets.
Around the World in Eighty Days is on at Wiiliamson Park until 27 August 2023.
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.