Friday, 6 October 2017

REVIEW: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at the The Greenwich Theatre


Nick Lane is the next in line to take the beast that is Jekyll and Hyde. The Stage had named his previous adaptation as ‘one of the best regional theatre productions in the UK’ when it was last performed. Awaiting the audience is a simple set contorted by shadows towering over the four chairs which stood empty on the stage; already an ominous atmosphere settles across the stage like the calm before a storm. 

Balancing between 4th wall breaking narration and living in the moment the interest of the audience doesn’t wane. In fact it’s the opposite; the audience grip on to every word spoken by the small troupe of players skirting the boards. There’s only four of them but the amount of characters played you’d think it was a company of ten. There is a real storyteller feel to this piece and each glance, sentence and movement is multilayered and deep. You can see a real synergy between actors, piece and director. 

Music carries the segues between scenes and adds a depth to the play which without it would lack that extra bit of atmosphere. 

Bringing the characters to life are 4 versatile performers; Zach Lee and Ashley Sean-Cook bring to life the more supporting roles from policeman to politician. Sean-Cook’s Hastie, Jekyll’s closest friend is doting, loving with the strength of a leading man Opposite Jekyll’s weak yet determined spirit. Paige Round is a great actress, she brings her character to life with power and a skill to pull your eye to her whenever she is on stage. She is simply electrifying. 

Jack Bannell in simply phenomenal. I was dubious about how one actor would transform from Jekyll to Hyde. There is something within that says ‘just changing your voice and stance isn’t enough to portray the difference’ but what Bannell did with his body, face and deliverance was great to see; it was almost as if his eyes changed - a true portrayal without the use of masks, make up or
CGI. 

The Strange Case of Jekyll’s and Hyde is a triumph. From ita atmospheric lighting, use of physical theatre and masterful score to the actors who breathe life and depth into then characters. It is inspirational, innovative and very smart indeed. 

Do not miss this tour. It’s running at The Greenwich Theatre until the 7th and then heading on tour. 

Review by James-Lee Campbell

Rating: ★★★★
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