Vault review: Around The World With Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly (1864-1922, played by writer/performer Katie Overstall) is set for an adventure, and she doesn’t want to be stuck writing on her newspaper’s gossip column.

Inspired by the novel Around The World In 80 Days by Jules Verne, she plans to beat the record of the fictitious Phileas Fogg. But will she manage the trip in time?

Shedlight Stories has brought an exciting and very funny solo show to the Cage at The Vaults. It’s November 1889, and Miss Bly is determined that travel will not be seen as just a man’s job.

Production photo for Around the World With Nellie Bly

So, with a handy map of planned stopovers, a flipchart counting down the days, and a couple of puppets, the story takes shape. Not much can hold Miss Bly back, and if you read about her investigative journalism through her life, you’ll realise why.

There’s a lot here to entertain, but it is fair to say that one particular chap of the animal variety (McGinty the monkey, designed by Shaun Lati) steals the show!

With lively writing, physical comedy, and audience interaction, this is a solid family show that proves that women can have fun, too, and be serious contenders in the field.

Production photo for Around the World With Nellie Bly

Directed by Nell Thomas, Around The World With Nellie Bly never flags and we get a real sense of boats, trains and other modes of transport helping or impending Nellie on her way.

An utterly delightful show for young and old, this puts yet another neglected woman from history back into the limelight.

Around The World With Nellie Bly is a hugely accomplished show that takes a light, yet informative, approach to the story of this groundbreaking woman.

Production photo of Around the World With Nellie Bly

At just under an hour, this has a snappy pace and a lot of cultural colour. Nellie tastes curry for the first time, rides in a rickshaw, watches a snake-charmer, and conquers sea-sickness.

It’s done with affection and with a lesson or two about friendship, ambition, and perseverance. Overstall is a gifted performer and puppeteer, without ever talking down to children in the audience.

I liked this show a lot – perfect viewing for a weekend afternoon. You can catch Around The World With Nellie Bly in perfornances on 4-5 Feb at 3.10pm: tickets here.