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Theatre Review: Jekyll and Hyde - The Musical – Union Theatre, London

Jekyll and Hyde – The Musical
 Union Theatre 

Friday 18th May 2012
: Based on the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde, Morphic Graffiti have taken the musical version and produced an exciting creation.

Adapted for the stage by writer Steve Cuden and composer Frank Wildhorn, the musical differs greatly from the book.

For one, in the musical women are pivotal to the plot, yet in the book there are no central female characters. The cast is also larger than expected, especially for a stage as small as the Union Theatre.

Another is that the transformation in the book seems to happen over a prolonged period of time and the antics of Mr Hyde seem random, yet in the musical it appears to happen over a shorter period of time and Mr Hyde is deliberate, almost to the point where he is ‘playing God’ by choosing to take peoples’ lives.

Tim Rogers is cast in the roles of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and portrays them rather well but it seems he has learnt the art of disguise from ‘Clark Kent/Superman’; once his glasses are off he is unrecognisable as his former self. The live music helps the audience distinguish between the two characters, sounding dark and mysterious when Mr Hyde is about. Rogers is apt at displaying the contradiction of the good versus evil dilemma his character Dr Jekyll has and it is clear to see he is fighting an inner demon.

The show, however, is stolen by two female characters; Joanna Strand who plays Emma, Jekyll’s fiancée and Madalena Alberto who is Lucy, the mistress. Both have fantastic voices and show great emotion captivating the audience.

The chorus is made up of a number of strong actors, with incredible voices. One deserving mention is Lydia Jenkins. Cast as Nellie, Jenkins has a magnificent voice and it is a shame that she is not given more of an opportunity to show it off.

The songs in general are appealing and help add to the atmosphere, though sometimes you wonder if a song has been added for the sake of it. Facade, however, is a great number and is extremely catchy. I left the performance singing the song and pondering the words.

The set, designed by Stewart Charlesworth, is incongruous. The play is set in modern day London but the stage design is reminiscent of the Victorian era and temperamental as parts do not move as smoothly as you would expect – perhaps that will improve as the show goes on.

Although the musical was not what I expected, having only read the book and not seen any adaptations of it, I did enjoy it and everyone involved in the production should be pleased with the result. I highly recommend it and would go as far as saying it could give some West End shows a run for their money.

Review by Unsa Chaudri

Jekyll and Hyde runs until Saturday 16th June 2012. Performances take place Tuesday to Saturday evenings at 7.30pm, and Sundays at 2pm and 6pm. There will be an extra Saturday matinee on 16th June at 3pm.
Tickets: £20 (£18 concessions) 

For more info: www.morphicgraffiti.com or call the box office on 0207 261 9876

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