Tag Archives: Robert Louis Stevenson

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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Jekyll & Hyde – 4 Stars


Jekyll & Hyde

Chickenshed Theatre

Reviewed – 27th September 2018


“a clever interpretation of a classic story with some impressive performances from a talented diverse cast.”


The Robert Louis Stevenson story of the nature of humanity and potential for us all to choose to do both good and evil is vividly explored in a new musical opera version of “Jekyll and Hyde” by a dynamic young cast in the Studio performance space at Chickenshed Theatre. The audience enter the Studio along a Victorian street and sit on four banks of rather uncomfortable bench seats facing each other across the cobbles. Flickering street lamps and Victorian smog set the scene. A bridge and sewer below face down to Jekyll’s house and the evocative set designed by Constance Villemot is well used throughout.

The writing team (music by Dave Carey and Hannah Bohlin with lyrics by Paul Morrall) chose to use modern music and words to update the story for today. With director Jonny Morton, they also made the decision to reorder and perform the story chronologically to make it more accessible to a modern audience.

The opera requires careful concentration as it moves quickly through events with two halves of around thirty five minutes each. The music has been prerecorded but all the singing is live. There are twenty-one songs in a variety of styles and enough repetition to make the audience feel familiar with the music during the show.

Chickenshed has an inclusive ethos and the cast reflected this. The dual role of Jekyll/Hyde was performed by Nathaniel Leigertwood. He contrasted the two roles most effectively and the physicality of his transformations and violence as Hyde clearly scared two audience members opposite me. Nathaniel has long dark curly hair which he released from a ponytail as Hyde and used to disguise his face most successfully. His friend and lawyer Utterson was played by Demar Lambert and Dr Lanyon was sung confidently by Finn Kebbe. Sir Danvers Carew was performed by Ecevit Kulucan and Poole by Will Laurence. Vocal performances were generally strong although there were moments when the score was too demanding for individuals.

The chorus were both dancers and singers and their performance was pivotal to the success of the production, with dynamic choreography by Michael Bossisse. The lighting by Andrew Caddies really enhanced the opera throughout. There is a clever piece of stagecraft at the end of the opera which surprises the audience and allows them further insight into the dilemma that Jekyll has faced, forming a neat conclusion to the opera. This is a clever interpretation of a classic story with some impressive performances from a talented diverse cast.


Reviewed by Max Bender

Photography by Natalie Greco


Jekyll & Hyde

Chickenshed Theatre until 20th October


Previously reviewed at Chickenshed:
Monolog | ★★★ | February 2018
Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow | ★★★★ | March 2018
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest | ★★★ | April 2018
Mr Stink | ★★★★★ | July 2018


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