Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Professor Otto Lidenbrock discovers a hidden message that gives him directions to the centre of the Earth. Along the way, he encounter various dangers and creatures.
Telling an epic story such as this classic Jules Verne novel without words is difficult (there is a voice-over to provide a little narrative detail). Fortunately, performer Robert Feetham is up for this task. His sound effects assist in telling the story — they are fun and yet provide necessary clues as to which character or creature Feetham is currently portraying. I also liked how the professor became more and more weary as the journey continues. But, when he sees the dinosaurs, his face is full of both awe and fear. This is a pretty good Fringe show that deserves much bigger crowds than the few people who attended Wednesday night’s performance.
On first glance, a physical representation of Journey to the Centre of the Earth might not seem to promise an hour of absorbing theatre, especially for someone like me who is not familiar with the novel, but this production really delivers.
Robert Feetham is a gifted physical actor and vocalist who uses no words in this fantastical journey. A voice-over helps provide some limited context, but mainly Feetham’s expressive and flexible body tells the story. A bit more voice-over might have helped, but on the other hand, the voice-over tends to take us out of the story, so perhaps the balance is right.
I hope that actors and directors who think they need lots of props, set pieces, and costumes to tell their story take some notes from this production. Journey to the Centre of the Earth deserves a much larger audience than the 20 or so people who attended on Thursday afternoon.