The Lieder Theatre’s production of Jules Verne’s own adaption of some of his most famous novels opens on Wednesday, October 18.
Journey Through The Impossible is an amalgam of his novels including Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869).
To cover such territory, as well as a journey into space, in the one play is ambitious to say the least.
The Lieder approaches it imaginatively, using a set that transforms relatively easily into these worlds along with stirring classical music that adds to the mood of this play.
Enter George Hatteras (Shane Daly) an adventurer who is haunted by the scientific accomplishments of his father. Like many sons, he wants to go beyond what his father did.
He is introduced to the evil Dr Ox (David Rayner), who tells him he can realise his burning ambitions by consuming a few drops of a magic potion.
Hatteras’ clingy fiance Eva (Stephanie Warden) does not want to lose him to yet another adventure, so she drinks the potion as well as a silly French man named Tartelet (Blake Selmes) and another silly man Valdemar (Steve Routley) who happen to be there.
So this is the setup – these people travel to various far flung places including the centre of the the earth, 20,000 leagues under the ocean and into space to a distant planet on the verge of collapse due to the mismanagement of its environment.
Along the way they meet magical creatures in each of these realms, played delightfully by children and others who take on many roles during the story. It is melodrama meets science fiction, complete with hero and villain, clowns, magical creatures and aliens.
The play was chosen to coincide with the Steampunk event and the costumes and sets mirror Steampunk themes.
All perfomers put in an admirable effort, but standout for me was the evil Dr Ox played with great villainy by David Rayner. Blake Selme’s portrayal of the French man with a suitably silly French accent and high camp style is fun. He and Steve Routley provide much humour and clowning to the journey.
Shane Daly and Stephanie Warden were convincing in their roles as the lovers. Ryan Paranthoiene admirably stepped into a number of roles at the last minute along with Kate Easlea and Harrison Treble.
The children in the production are to be congratulated for playing so many roles. The bottom of the ocean contains a variety of engaging sea creatures.
The play continues every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm until the end of October with 2pm matinees on October 21 and 28. Tickets from Lieder website or Goulburn Medical Clinic, or at the door.