Tag Archives: Bryony J. Thompson

The Strange Case Of Jekyll & Hyde


Jack Studio Theatre

The Strange Case Of Jekyll & Hyde

The Strange Case Of Jekyll & Hyde

Jack Studio Theatre

Reviewed – 5th September 2019



“an incredibly well thought out piece of theatre that grips and entertains the whole way through”


It is not hard to imagine the themes of Jekyll and Hyde transplanting themselves into the present day – science going too far, people struggling with their inner demons – and, indeed, The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde merges these so perfectly with the 21st century, it almost makes you question why it hasn’t been done before. Whether it is good vs evil, love vs hate, or Republicans vs Democrats, nothing is off limits in this clever and compelling take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel.

Set in an approximation of present day America, against the backdrop of a Trump impeachment, an avalanche of mass shootings, and mounting political tensions, this production not only offers up Gothic drama but infuses it with a modern and bitter poignancy. Although viewers are most likely familiar with the original twist of the novel, the play begins by throwing out scattered new pieces of mystery. The book’s sincere narrator Gabriel Utterson becomes troubled anti-heroine Gabrielle Utterson (Lucy Ioannou), a woman with dark secrets lurking behind her eyeliner-bedecked eyes. Taking on the role of journalist, she seeks to piece together the link between charismatic mayor Henry Jekyll (Will Pinchin), and villain Hyde (Christopher Tester). Why is the same Hyde seen assaulting a minor, shown just four years ago to be an affable schoolteacher in a relationship with Jekyll? As she becomes drawn closer into Jekyll’s world as his Presidential campaign manager, both the story and her unhealthy personal involvement only deepens.

A cast of characters support the main trio. Sex worker Imogen Poole (Gabrielle Nellis-Pain) turns from witness to Hyde’s horrors to Utterson’s love interest in a satisfying character arc. And scientist Hayley Lanyon (Charlie Ryall) pops up now and again to give insights on Jekyll’s scientific past. All in all, there are exceptional performances from every member of the cast. The script naturally gives Pinchin the most time to shine, but Nellis-Pain’s understated portrayal of what could have easily been a background character is also incredibly strong.

Each character also feels well-grounded in reality. Writer and director Ross McGregor has done well fleshing out the ideas of the novel, and a rich script keeps the cast well supplied with material, from quick ripostes that are both smart and searingly relevant, to high-stakes political debates, and soul-searching monologues. Credit must go also go to costume design (Bryony J. Thompson) for making Jekyll look so much like a Kennedy, and for Utterson’s wonderfully Victorian ensemble – a stylish homage to the story’s home era.

Despite the realism of the setting, the production still retains elements of Gothic spectacle, and it’s these two strands together that make it such a brilliant, bold, and unforgettable performance. Both the lighting (Anna Reddyhoff) and set design (Charlotte Cooke) work hand in hand to magnify the drama – with, eerie red, blue, and fluorescent lights, and a partly-transparent screen (a visual representation of many of the play’s themes) used to great effect. And the sound (Alistair Lax) heightens the drama in all the right places.

The final result is an incredibly well thought out piece of theatre that grips and entertains the whole way through.



Reviewed by Vicky Richards

Photography by  Davor Tovarlaza


The Strange Case Of Jekyll & Hyde

Jack Studio Theatre until 28th September


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Radiant Vermin | ★★★★ | November 2018
Sweet Like Chocolate Boy | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Cinderella | ★★★ | December 2018
Gentleman Jack | ★★★★ | January 2019
Taro | ★★★½ | January 2019
As A Man Grows Younger | ★★★ | February 2019
Footfalls And Play | ★★★★★ | February 2019
King Lear | ★★★ | March 2019
The Silence Of Snow | ★★★ | March 2019
Queen Of The Mist | ★★★½ | April 2019


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Review of Thark – 3 Stars



Drayton Arms

Reviewed – 15th December 2017


“Blell is an extremely talented actor and made this somewhat confusing farce, a bit more enjoyable to watch.”


Matthew Parker’s hilarious, yet bizarre production of Thark begins with a lot of promise, but it soon becomes apparent that this is not the typical fast-paced farce, that one had hoped for. Poor accents, slow action and strange characters, were just some of the things that left me feeling rather disappointed. Set in the 1920s, Sir Hector Benbow (Mathijs Swarte) secretly intends to take his new lady friend, Cherry, (Isabella Hayward) out for dinner. However, this does not go accordingly to plan as his wife, Lady Benbow, (Charlotte Vassell) arrives home early and he, along with the help of his nephew Ronald, (Robin Blell) are left cleaning up the mess that Hector so foolishly has got himself into.

Just a few minutes into the show, Mathijs Swarte’s accent was very frustrating, as he would flitter between a very southern American accent, to a posh English accent. Robin Blell was by far the star of the show, as his accent was very impressive and he delivered an incredible performance that had great energy, and great charisma. One scene which tickled me the most, was when Ronald desperately tried to get Kitty’s (Natalia Lewis) attention, in hope that she would realise that he truly loves her and not Cherry. Having already presented a bunch of flowers to her and pretended to be choking on a phone wire, Kitty still refuses to listen to Ronald. Interestingly, what made this scene so laugh out loud funny, was Blell’s hilarious one-liners and great timing. Blell is an extremely talented actor and made this somewhat confusing farce, a bit more enjoyable to watch.

Soon after this, several of the characters suddenly began to do a rather random 1920s Charleston dance. Despite the dance being actually very good, it was very confusing and didn’t help move the narrative forward. To make things even more confusing, Act Two focused on ‘Thark,’ (the family home that is thought to be haunted), but ignored almost everything that happened in Act One. This made the whole production feel a bit disjointed as it would have been nice to have seen how the relationship developed between Hector and Lady Bowmen. The trouble is, Matthew Parker’s production was engaging, but it didn’t live up to my expectations, and I often found myself questioning a lot more as opposed to laughing.

What angered me the most was the ending. It finished too soon and didn’t make sense, as there was so much more that needed to be explored. The whole point of theatre is to tell a story and most stories have a beginning, middle and an end, but perhaps the cast and crew were in a rush, as this production had a beginning, middle but no end. Thus making this piece of theatre incomplete.

Overall, Matthew Parker’s production does have the potential to be a fantastic farce, but having a confusing plot and a terrible ending, was extremely frustrating to watch.


Reviewed by Jessica Brewer

Photography by lhphotoshots 




is at the Drayton Arms Theatre until 6th January 2018



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