As a performing arts student, I thoroughly enjoy watching Fringe/Off West End productions and in particular seeing new and upcoming talent or work that I would not normally get the chance to watch. Jekyll and Hyde was certainly one of these opportunities.
Jo Clifford’s new adaptation of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel Jekyll and Hyde is set in ‘an alternative London of the future’. Dr Jekyll is a cancer specialist, searching for a cure. In his search he manages to create a drug which can completely alter a patient’s personality.
I thought the set for this piece, by Richard Evans, fitted in perfectly with the idea of a future London. Simplicity was key and really allowed us to focus in on the strong storyline of the three characters. However, with a blend of both modern and 19th century, the characters costumes varied between the traditional play and this modern adaption.
At the start of Act 1 there seemed to be too much time spent setting up the scene and the character of Dr Jekyll and his search for a cancer cure, which turned out to be completely irrelevant to the purpose of the drug he used on himself, and was discarded until near the end of the Act 2. However when we got into the grit of the play I found myself fixated on the stage and intrigued by the mysterious Mr Hyde.
Nathan Ives-Moiba was incredible in the lead role. In the first act I wasn’t sure about his portrayal of Dr Jekyll and was not sure on the casting, but as soon as the transformation took place all my doubts had gone. Ives-Moiba took the role of a split personality with such ease, and watching the torment of his character was truly fascinating and a believable performance. Praise must also go to Rowena Lennon who played a variety of female roles, each having their own tragic and dark storyline.
Jo Clifford has certainly found a way to bring a new audience to a well-known classic, finding a darker and deeper twist to the character of Dr Jekyll and the guilt he had been holding long before Mr Hyde. I also enjoyed her twist on the women within the play, each having a tragic life and a feeling of despair and tiredness to their character. Rowena Lennon’s last monologue described the life of a cleaner and how the woman’s knowledge and experience had gone to waste. Although I did have a feeling of this throughout the play with each female character, I wish it had been made more poignant as I feel it left the audience with a sudden new thought that had not previously been shown clearly throughout the journey.
Over all I found this an enjoyable piece of theatre and feel with more performances the play will grow stronger and have a successful tour with ‘Sell a Door Theatre Company’.
Review by Jessica Theobald
Jekyll and Hyde
Set in an alternative London of the future that is consumed by the quest for immortality, Dr. Henry Jekyll is a high-profile cancer specialist, determined to find a cure for mankind’s greatest medical challenge. In his obsession to be the doctor that makes this historic breakthrough, Jekyll’s radical research results in the creation of an unintentional strain of drug which entirely alters the patient’s personality.
Making himself the subject of his own experiments, Jekyll steps into the unknown and unleashes his inner demons. Trapped in a corporate world, Dr. Jekyll must choose to keep hold of his own identity as he revels in the freedom and chaos of his hideous alter ego: Mr Hyde. But is the choice still in his hands?
Robert Louis Stevenson’s cult classic is reinterpreted in this modern adaptation, set in a steampunk dystopian world where the questionable actions of leaders are no longer held to account, whilst the personal freedoms of the common citizen are disregarded. A vivid depiction of a regressive future, this bold new adaptation is written by Jo Clifford and presented by multi award-winning touring company Sell a Door.
Review at LONDON, Greenwich Theatre
Press Night: Thursday 12 February, 7.30pm
Friday 13th February 2015