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"Their steampunk spectacle is dazzling, hypnotic, immersive and very, very clever." - Sarasota Observer

Monday, June 19, 2017

Multimedia, multisensory adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic immerses audiences in an oceanic experience.

by: Marty Fugate
June 17, 2017

Rick Miller and Craig Francis’ “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” is making a big splash at the Asolo Rep. This adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel is a whole lot of fun. That’s by design — and a high-tech design it is. The machinery of joy is state-of-the-art.

Francis and Miller brings the oceanic feeling to life with a cunning mix of puppets, projections and action figures. While their production company is called Kiddoons, what they’ve created is hardly a kiddie show.

They play tricks with your mind. They jolt your perceptions with abrupt shifts in perspective, scale and orientation — like the scene that tricks you into thinking you’re looking down at four characters sitting around a dining table. Stuff cranks down from pulleys! Stuff pops out of the stage! A radio-controlled inflatable sharks drifts through the auditorium; then a puppeteer strides by with a dagger-jawed angler fish!

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