Jules Verne’s 1872 novel traded on two remarkable aspects of the modern world. The first, as the title suggests, is the possibility of circling the globe in less than three months thanks to the building of railways and the opening of shipping routes. The second, more universally felt, is the ability to measure such a journey. Mass production of pocket watches in the late 19th century helped turn time-keeping into a popular pursuit – a tool of coordination and of control. The Phileas Fogg we meet in Laura Eason’s much revived adaptation is the embodiment of this development. Played by a cool and exact Stefan Adegbola, he has finessed his life down to the last second. As the score by Benjamin Hudson and Anna Wheatley ticks out its regimented rhythm, he organises his daily routine with the precision of the industrial age. In place of emotion, he has efficiency. All this is wittily represented in a production by Hal Chambers that revels in the spirit of invention. Louie Whitemore’s revolving stage is largely bare but for the eight-strong ensemble emulating everything from framed portraits to steam engines, under the excellent movement direction of Jess Williams. The audience joins in on a game of make-believe as we journey from Brindisi to Suez and beyond, delighting in the stage tricks that make the fantasy possible. Eason’s script wears its politics lightly, but it makes a connection between Fogg’s machine-like punctuality and the indifference of empire. Like his compatriots, he is a man who chooses order and familiarity over engagement with the world. His 80-day trek teaches him he is not the centre of the universe, a lesson reinforced by an ever-patient Saba Shiraz as Mrs Aouda, his future wife, quietly determined to snap him out of his isolation. To offset Fogg’s coldness, we turn to Passepartout, his hapless valet, to let us see this extraordinary adventure for what it is. In this, Miriam O’Brien does a superb job. She is a clownish fall guy, a blank-faced Buster Keaton, ever optimistic despite the narrow escapes – and very funny with it. She is a highlight in a long but always joyful production. At Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, until 29 April. Then at Hull Truck, 4-20 May.