Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Kings Theatre Edinburgh, Review:
*** 3 Stars
Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic thriller tale, first published 132 years ago has seen many adaptations over the years from literary republishing’s to in excess of 120 film and stage productions and now the chiller returns in new production.
Telling the tale of Dr Jekyll an upper crust London doctor who in the darkness of night creates a serum to deal with his angry outbursts only to create the evil Killer that is Mr Hyde, a split personality run rampant and a moral exploration of how even in the good people we trust there can so often lie the deepest of evil intentions. Riveting stuff that has stood the test of time.
This new production from The Touring Consortium adapted by David Edgar and directed by Kate Saxon condenses the story into tour hour long acts and while getting the main themes across it too often slips into a hokieness that does a disservice to the original work, its almost less chilling but more charming something which Stevenson himself probably never intentioned.
In terms of performances, the lynchpin is “Phil Daniels” in the dual roles of Jekyll and Hyde which for the Edinburgh performances see him use a cut glass Morningside accent as the doctor and a couthy Glasgow accent as Mr Hyde, when performing as Hyde there is a spooky parallel to Billy Connolly which certainly brings a uniqueness to his take on the pair. Daniels does excel, delivering dramatically when required and keeping the focus through his marathon run of dialog throughout the show.
Joining Daniels in a fine turn of a performance is Grace Hogg-Robinson in the role of maid “Annie” the one character who is able to put the clues together to reveal the connection between Jekyll and Hyde she brings a charm and warmth to the role that really engages with the audience.
Where the production does shine is the highly atmospheric stage set from Simon Higlett which set against the splendour of the king’s auditorium gives it a real Victorian charm, but the choices made by the production team including musical moments don’t always heighten the tension but adds to the sense that hokie charm should have given way to more serious dramatic recourse. While it does leave the viewer wanting more, what the production does deliver is an engaging night of theatre especially with the classic and Curious case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Touring Consortium Theatre Company and Rose Theatre Kingston Present “Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde”, King’s Theatre Edinburgh, Until Saturday 14th April for tickets go to https://www.capitaltheatres.com/jekyllandhyde