Tag Archives: Kate Saxon

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde – 2 Stars


Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Rose Theatre Kingston

Reviewed – 14th February 2018


“The one moment of true violence on stage was badly managed, and failed to convince”


Robert Louis Stevenson’s late 19th century novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde revisits the same themes as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, written 70 years earlier. Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, its narrative of the duality of human nature and the merits (or otherwise) of scientific investigation, still have the power to fascinate. What a shame then, that this production remains in the dated and formulaic tradition of Victorian drawing room drama.

David Edgar’s script introduces three female characters to the original, but, despite some excellent work from both Polly Frame as Dr. Jekyll’s forward-looking sister Katherine, and Grace Hogg-Robinson as her plucky maid Annie, their inclusion seemed superfluous, and served only to detract from the pared-down tension of Stevenson’s tale. Indeed, the production as a whole was baggy, and lacked both pace and narrative drive. The inclusion of two sub-plots – Annie’s flight and subsequent appointment in Dr. Jekyll’s house, and Lanyon’s actions as a result of the exposure of his past – together with the final reveal of a formative incident in Dr. Jekyll’s childhood, crowded out the power of Dr. Jekyll’s terrifying experiment entirely.

The production failed to provide any moments of genuine fear, and Phil Daniels’ central performance often teetered on the edge of vaudeville, leaving the audience unsure of what was expected from them. Some able, but strangely-placed, pieces of theatrical business from Sam Cox, as Jekyll’s butler Poole, gave us the reason we needed to laugh, but this reviewer was not the only one to feel the comedy inherent in Daniels’ broad Glaswegian, drunken Hyde. The one moment of true violence on stage was badly managed, and failed to convince, and the decision to delay the conclusion, and thus dilute the impact, of Hyde’s original transgression, as witnessed by Utterson, seemed yet another way to diminish Hyde’s monstrous power.

The production design only served to underline the Fairground House of Horrors feel of the piece, with hackneyed visual and sonic tropes throughout. Rosie Abraham’s haunting voice was beautiful, but overused, and the glowing laboratory door and equipment seemed faintly comedic. As did the continual opening and closing of all three on-stage doors, which bordered on the farcical.

Ultimately, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde did not seize the imagination. It is a tale that still has the capacity to bite, but, unfortunately, this production rendered it toothless.


Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw

Photography by Mark Douet


Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Rose Theatre Kingston until 17th February then continues on tour



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Review of As You Like It – 3 Stars


As You Like It

Richmond Theatre

Reviewed – 8th November 2017


“the company embody the lighthearted foolishness that makes the play what it is”


With it’s subtle political jokes (a ‘stags for remain banner’ clearly shown) and modern dance pieces entwined with classic Shakespearean text, it feels like this performance was designed to try and draw in newbies to the classics. Despite this, Shared Experiences’ production of what has been shown to be an audience favourite of The Bard, has proven to humour a Shakespeare aficionado.


You’d think with an alumni of Vanessa Redgrave and Helen Mirren (to name a few) starring as Rosalind, a young actor would be quaking in their boots to take on such a role. But, Jessica Hayles takes it in her stride providing a refreshing new take on the character. Layo-Christina Akinlude shines as her cousin Celia when they move to the mythical Forest of Arden, after fleeing persecution in her uncle’s court (now portrayed as some kind of political office). Libby Watson’s design for Arden comprises of a desolate stage with white walls and floors reminiscent of a cell, tinged with artificial hues of hot pink and green (lighting by Chris Davey) that remind me more of neon raves rather than a quaint and tranquil haven. Furthermore, the only other indication that this is a forest is one lone, artificial, barren tree which wobbles as the actors climb up it. Poorly placed projections add nothing to the set or the story.

The actors more than make up for what the set lacks. On top of the two heroines’ stand out performances, Nathan Hamilton sets the stage as an angsty teen version of Orlando, the main love interest who progresses to a love stricken outcast from the office/court while Matthew Darcy shines as, among other characters, the pantomime Audrey.

This play feels like it was aimed at a younger audience. One who would appreciate the selfies and Glastonbury feel to the camp in Arden. Despite this, it appeals to everyone, regardless of whether you like Shakespeare or not. It’s fun and funny to watch and you’ll catch yourself empathising with the characters of this centuries old, yet timeless, play. Directed gaily by Kate Saxon, the company embody the lighthearted foolishness that makes the play what it is; a playful romp through one of the early examples of a romantic comedy.


Reviewed by Ciara Loane

Photography by Keith Pattison


Richmond Theatre



is at the Richmond Theatre until 11th November then touring until 2nd December



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