JEKYLL AND HYDE: Adapted Nicholas Briggs.
Tkts 0115 989 5555 www.royalcentre-nottingham.co.uk.
Runs: 1h 50m: one interval: till 8th August.
Performance times: 7.30pm weekdays, 5pm and 8pm Saturday (Matinee 2.00pm Weds).
Review: Alan Geary: 3rd August 2015.
Read all abaht it! ’Orrible murder. Nottingham’s annual Thriller Season is back!
The annual Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season is back at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal with Jekyll and Hyde. R L Stevenson’s book has been adapted by Nicholas Briggs, also responsible for direction, and musical composition and arrangement.
Opening with portentous music, a street scene, and a dastardly atrocity, the adaptation generally works well. In place of a narrator, lawyer Gabriel Utterson begins to tell Inspector Newcomen all he knows about his friend Jekyll and the mysterious Hyde.
Flashbacks are over-done, and it’s potentially confusing when we’re given flashbacks within flashbacks. But the associated tableaux are fun. The over-mechanical, bustling London street scenes, which are switched on and off, are intentionally clichéd. You just know that a cockney paper seller is going to oblige with “Read all abaht it! ’Orrible murder!”, and you’re not disappointed.
Another joyous, this time bathos-laden, line comes just after Jekyll has transmogrified into Hyde in a manner never before observed in the known universe. A chirpy Inspector Newcomen explains his appearance with “We were just passing when we heard a commotion”.
So long as Newcomen’s a plodding stage sleuth, David Gilbrook plays him well. When he’s waving his arms about histrionically he’s less convincing – sleuths stage or otherwise, don’t do that. As a bearded Dr Jekyll, Robert Laughlin, is especially good in the crucial solo scene in the lab when he’s finding it impossible to control his momentous discovery. Jeremy Lloyd Thomas is, too, a convincing Dr Hastie Lanyon, both as a healthy man and when he’s on his way out. Andrew Ryan is a first-rate Utterson, the lawyer and close friend of Jekyll. In terms of voice and timing it’s a confident and measured performance; and he commands the stage whenever he’s on it.
Geoff Gilder’s multi-locational, cutaway set is visually pleasing; and efficient when it comes to scene-changing. His late-Victorian costumes are splendid.
This isn’t actually a thriller; it’s a Victorian-style melodrama. But it held its first-night audience from start to finish.
Gabriel Utterson: Andrew Ryan.
Inspector Newcomen: David Gilbrook.
Henry Jekyll: Robert Laughlin.
Mrs Poole: Susan Earnshaw.
Dr Hastie Lanyon: Jeremy Lloyd Thomas.
Edward Hyde: Andrew Fettes.
Richard Enfield: David Osmond.
Maisie/Lanyon’s Maid/Paterson: Anna Mitcham.
Detective Constable: Ryan Mitchell.
Juveniles: Elise Solis and Charlotte Wright.
Director/Music Composer and Arranger: Nicholas Briggs.
Designer/Costumes: Geoff Gilder.
Lighting: Michael Donoghue.