Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Malvern Theatres


“Don’t Tickle Teddy in the Forest”, sang Rosie Abraham, who was gifted with a sixth sense to create the atmospheric fear in the auditorium and melded together the scenes from David Edgar’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel of dark inner selves has been depicted many times, usually with all male casts in theatres and on screen but what is quite refreshing with Edgar’s adaptation are the female characters that have been added to this story.

The director Kate Saxon created the singer, an enigma, outside the story but gifted with true sight and pitched in a melancholy tone stitching the scenes together leaving an unnerving taste in your mouth.

In the first half or the base half, Phil Daniels, of Quadrophenia fame, as Dr Jekyll, spoke in a posh Edinburgh brogue and visited his sister, with an eye-patch, Katherine (Polly Frame) who gave the good doctor their father’s old manuscripts which he then took back through the London Fog to his laboratory.

The maid Annie, played by Grace Hogg-Robinson, comes to live with the doctor to escape her violent father and soon becomes intertwined into the evil superego that is Mr Hyde, getting more than she bargained for when her innocence is stripped from her.

Sam Cox, as Poole the manservant, appears to be none the wiser when his master disappears for days on end and London’s streets become unsafe with vicious attacks.

The second half or higher half sees the increasing violence as Mr Hyde, with his thick Glaswegian accent, becomes harder to control and wreaks havoc along the cobbled streets. He attacks an MP out walking with a cane and you could hear the bones cracking as limbs were broken and dislocated as the blows rained down until the bitter end.

The scene changes in this gothic horror helped to evoke a world of darkness and light and good aginst evil. The impressive set, from Simon Higlett had a good many doors and walkways and Mark Jonathan’s lighting added to the spookiness of the atmosphere - the door to the laboratory glowing red with danger.

The only niggle I had was with the wall of potions in the lab which looked more like a modern day vending machine filled with fizzy drinks than an array of chemicals from a late Victorian workshop.

Dr Jekyll’s esteemed colleagues couldn’t protect him forever and as police investigations become closer to discovering the truth the true horror is revealed that Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are one and the same.

Before downing a beaker of cyanide Hyde confesses to pregnant Annie about his battle with a dual personality and the reason for Katherine’s eye patch becomes all too clear. What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Phil Daniels executed the two personalities subtly, more comically than menacingly at time, but the atmosphere remained uncomfortable and the plot all twisted together thanks to Rosie Abraham’s haunting rhymes. The horror continues to 03-03-18

Emma Trimble


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