A spine chilling score and knock out performances makes Jekyll and Hyde one of the Savoyards best shows yet!
Brad Barnely leads this stellar cast as the infamous Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Barnely’s Jekyll is nervous but passionate, he stands tall and yet sensitive. This contrasts with the vile Hyde with hunched back, menacing face and rough voice. Barnley has several epic songs to belt out to the packed audience throughout the show but the two that really stand out are ‘This is the Moment’ and ‘Confrontation’. It is no mean feat performing a duet with yourself but with some very clever lighting effects and a superb central performance, Barnely gives us the highlight of the show.
The musical drifts away at times from the original novella by Robert Louis Stevenson to focus more on the love story between Jekyll and Emma Carew (played by Emily Scotcher). This creates a number of strong female parts which have been filled in this production with the crème-de-la-crème of musical theatre talent on the island. Andee Lowthion gave a hilarious portrayal of Lady Beaconsfield with fantasic facial expression and a constant look of disgust and Jesse Rann’s raunchy Nellie brought comedy and energy to the big chorus numbers such as ‘Bring On the Men’. Emily Scotcher and Harley Mackness gave stunning performances as the love interests, their duet ‘In His Eyes’ was incredibly powerful.
The strong supporting cast help to create the spooky atmosphere throughout the piece as they haunt the side of the stage watching the action. There are some eye catching performances from some of the younger members of the chorus and numbers such as ‘Façade’ and ‘Murder, Murder’ are delivered with such gusto. Mark Entwistle’s creepy voice and constant presence worked well as Spider and Stuart Adams helps tie the whole piece together as Utterson. Special mention must be paid to David Kast for his portrayal of Sir Danvers Carew, Jekyll’s prospective father-in-law, who gives one of the best performances I have seen of his and brings a lot to the role.
Frank Wildhorn’s haunting score was delivered superbly by the 18-piece orchestra under the baton of Andrew Woodford. The music underscores most of the action to great dramatic effect.
It isn’t as gory as we were promised which, although disappointing for me, comes a relief to many in the audience. The simple set, beautiful costumes and clever lighting all work well to give the overall effect of the production. The choreography was quite basic and clunky at times and there were some opportunities for some big dance numbers that were sadly missed. Overall, Jekyll and Hyde is an effective piece which embraces the gothic horror of the novella.
If you’re in two minds about getting a ticket, then embrace your inner Hyde and get yourself down to Shanklin Theatre for this spooky spectacular that runs until Monday.
Reviewed by Joe Plumb, Theatre Producer
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