Writer: Leslie Bricusse
Music: Frank Wildhorn,
Lyrics: Frank Wildhorn, Leslie Bricusse and Steve Cuden
Director: Mark Feakins
Choreographer: Martin Scattergood
Reviewer: Sheila Stratford
The timeless thriller Jekyll and Hyde the Musical is based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, which is set in Victorian London. Dr Jekyll maintains it is possible to separate the good from the evil that lies within people. Over a period of seven years, Dr Jekyll develops a potion which he believes will release his father and other unfortunates from the madness that has imprisoned them in the horrors of Victorian asylums.
Southey Musical Theatre Company, in this their 80th Anniversary production, portray Dr Jekyll as a good but tortured man in a frenzied state caused by many years of intensive research, desperate to find a cure for mankind. While in contrast to many productions where Mr Hyde is portrayed as a mad, wild maniac, Jekyll’s alter ego Mr Hyde is presented as a controlled but ruthless psychopath. This different approach is extremely successfully in exploring the more psychological truth to the story. Director Mark Feakins cleverly sustains suspense throughout the musical, and avoids creating an exaggerated Gothic horror story.
The six months of rehearsals by this amateur theatre company have handsomely paid off. With the limited resources available to an amateur theatre company this is an extremely good production of Jekyll and Hyde the Musical. The stage at the Montgomery theatre has been stripped right back to give room for the cast, and excellent lighting is integral in creating the atmosphere of the production.
Often, the musical numbers in Jekyll and Hyde have a rock vibe and are more modern in style than what you might expect from a story set in Victorian London; however the costumes and props elegantly complement the musical style.
The whole cast demonstrate a professionalism and genuine talent. The musical numbers ‘Façade ‘, ‘Board of Governors’ and ‘the Engagement Party’ set the scene. ‘Bring on the Men’ is a great saucy number where we are introduced to Lucy (Gina Townsend) and the prostitutes. Townsend is certainly one to watch out for, as she gives a very strong performance with beautiful singing.
Mark Holmes is excellent in the dual rôle of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. His singing is superb and his whole demeanour skilfully changes as he moves from one personality to his alter-ego, creating a most believable Jekyll and Hyde.
Emma (Jennifer Horsfield) the loyal fiancée of Dr Jekyll has a beautiful, clear, haunting singing voice. The characters loyalty to Dr Jekyll could be difficult for the audience to accept, considering she is at the same time a feisty character, but she remains loyal despite Dr Jekyll’s bizarre behaviour and her genuine love and affection is felt throughout.
Great supporting rôles come in the form of Matthew Walker and his rôle of Spider, the obnoxious and controlling pimp. Lady Beaconsfield (Marie Mason) brings great humour to her rôle, as did the Bishop of Basingstoke (Andrew Hibbert ).
The lyrics tell the story and resonate throughout, while the excellent orchestral accompaniment mirrors the professional performance. The suspense (particularly in Act two) and the passion of the Southey Musical Theatre Company is infectious, they have created an evening of great entertainment and comes recommended.
Runs until: 25th April 2015