Jekyll and Hyde
Devised, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie
Old Vic Theatre on line
Wed 05 Aug to Wed 12 Aug 2020.
Running time 90 minutes with a very short interval. Review Mark Courtice 5th August 2020
This dance shocker comes with several trigger warnings; there’s blood, violence, murder, sex, drugs and that’s before you get to the (very fleeting) nudity, and strobe lighting. There’s also some splendid dancing, a neat, flexible and well lit set and admirably clear storytelling. What’s missing is character and subtlety.
The story of mild-mannered Dr Jekyll transformed into wicked Mr Hyde by a potion is well known. Here he is more a florist than a doctor– just as vicious but with added blooms. His victims are mainly women, and the men are swaggering and beefy, so it feels very old fashioned.
The tone is uncertain; there is lots of fun, but it’s often gruesome. The clever scenography refers to all sorts of Hollywood films from The Little Shop of Horrors to West Side Story. The choreography nods to Gene Kelly and the Jets, there are some effective duets and rather dancified fights. The murders are pretty brutal, underlining the heartless nature of the whole enterprise.
Grant Olding’s music reflects the choreography’s magpie tendencies. Soutra Gilmour’s set is neat, swiftly whisking us from bar to gym to bedroom to that flower shop. Richard Howell’s lighting lays rich colour and shadows over the women in their fifties frocks and men in suits.
It is more clever than moving, and it’s hard to see the characters for the set pieces, but there are a couple of strong performances from Alexzandra Sarmiento and Ebony Molina who make you care about their inevitable fate. The dancing is great, the company are secure, precise, hard working and (often literally) full – blooded. They are good enough not to need the strobes.
At 90 minutes the show is pacey, and no time is wasted. There’s respect for the audience in making everything clear but this means subtleties are sacrificed.
Ashley Andrews Steven
Joao Carolino Robert
Daniel Collins Dr Jekyll
Simon Hardwick Ensemble (Cover Robert/Louis/Steven)
Tim Hodges Mr Hyde
Carrie Taylor Johnson Rose
Anabel Kutay Iris
Ebony Molina Ivy
Rachel Muldoon Dahlia
Freya Rowley Lilly
Alexzandra Sarmiento Daisy
Barnaby Thompson Louis
Jason Winter Charlie
Drew McOnie Director and Choreographer
Grant Olding Original Score
Soutra Gilmour Designer
Richard Howell Lighting
Sebastian Frost Sound
Simon Hardwick Associate Director