The Strange Case Of Dr Jeckell And Mr Hyde

Her Majesty’s Theatre

4 March


Dr Jeckell is unlike most productions. Not so much in the story portrayed, but in the stunning presentation. On occasions the two actors, Matthew Barker and Ewen Leslie, are either hidden behind a prop, facing away from the audience and looking toward the back curtain or peering into the wings. Yet the audience could at all times see in great detail their very expressive faces as they told the sorry tale, thanks to a roving crew of discrete camera operators and a bank of mobile screens facing the audience in almost constant motion.

At first this seemed to be a technological trick with questionable point but soon its real purpose and benefit become very apparent. With cameras constantly in their face and their huge image presented to the audience we get to see the raw emotion being conveyed brilliantly by the actors. And what a powerful tool it is.

But, or course, there is so more to this production than technology, the focus is on the play itself, the trickery merely enhances the experiences and enables the full impact of the performance to be appreciated.

And what a performance. Brilliantly directed and adapted by Kip Williams the play adds a new dimension to Robert Louis Stevenson’s 19th century novel and adds a potent sense of drama. Credit for much of this must go to both Barker and Leslie whose performance was not only a real test of stamina as they tackled multiple roles, but also a tour de force. They adapted expertly to the constant close-ups so that the real impact of the drama came across so powerfully.

Not to be missed.

Michael Prescott

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