jekyll and Hyde

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre


David Edgar’s stage adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde brings the ‘penny dreadful’ genre to the stage.

Edgar has introduced a number of female characters which serves to give a more in depth back story to the character of Dr Jekyll.

At times, however, this production becomes overly ‘wordy’ which results in the slowing of pace and causes the sense of tension to fall into dullness.

A dark and simple open set greets the audience along with rumbling ominous sound effects. As the play progresses the composite set is transformed quickly and efficiently to depict various settings.  The bright red laboratory door stands out against the blackness of the rest of the set like a warning beacon. The mostly dim stage lighting is successful in adding to the overall atmospheric and sinister feel.

Phil Daniels plays the gentle mannered Dr Jekyll who inherits his father’s diaries which eventually lead to his downfall as the evil Mr Hyde.

Daniels relies on his acting ability to portray the metamorphosis aided by the sound effect of cracking bones and flickering lighting.  He adapts his gait and adds a strong Glaswegian accent which on occasions does become a little ‘Billy Connollyesque’ causing an outbreak of quiet laughter from the audience, but overall his transformation is convincing.

It is undoubtedly a difficult task to convey the physical change without the help of theatrical effects, prosthetics and makeup. Daniels successfully portrays both characters and impresses in the demanding role which he sustains with great aplomb.

There is a strong supporting cast, all of whom manage to maintain a reasonable pace and sinister tension despite the rather verbose script.

Rosie Abraham who plays both Lucy and the maid also adds to the haunting atmosphere with some beautifully sung dialogue. Sam Cox plays the butler Poole in an interesting manner with deliberate, measured and slightly comical movements.  Grace Hogg-Robinson is particularly strong in her role of the abused but faithful maid Annie.

Touring Consortium Theatre Company and Rose Theatre Kingston have created an original and interesting production which focuses on the psychology of the piece rather than the horror. It is perhaps not the edge of the seat, gruesome, gothic horror that some may expect but is strangely enjoyable in a dark and sinister way. To 05-05-18

Rosemary Manjunath and Elizabeth Smith


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