Jekyll and Hyde is in the “Dance, Physical Theater and Circus” section of the Ed Fringe catalog and I think that is an apt descriptor. When I think of a dance performance, I think of lots of movement, lots of music and little to no speaking. This show, on the other hand, is a fully scripted hour-long play that uses dancerly movements to punctuate the emotions, relationships and of course, the transformation of Henry Jekyll’s world. There is only a little bit of dub-step music when Jekyll is on his benders, and the rest of the dancing is done in line with the dialog.
The story is set in the present and deals not with the original Jekyll character’s desire to extricate his other half, but centers around his desire to treat mental illness. He has anxiety attacks himself, but it is his sister’s crippling agoraphobia and memories of his mother’s condition that drives his research and eventual self-testing of a drug. In my review of the book The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde I said that one thing that remained constant through all of the adaptations I had see was that Jekyll transforms into another person, Hyde. In this show, however, Hyde is a person only Jekyll can see who wields power over Jekyll’s movements and can send him crawling across the floor or paralyzes, leaving him watching helplessly as he murders.
I thought this show was absolutely great. I highly recommend it! The whole Headlock Theatre company did a wonderful job, and both Jekyll (Nathan Spencer) but especially Hyde (Tom Boxall) were totally brilliant. You can learn more about them here: headlocktheatre.co.uk/.
Get tickets: tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/jekyll-and-hyde
But here’s a tip: make sure you sit in the first few rows of the theater. The stage is not raised, so even at 4 rows from the front we lost a lot of the floor work behind the heads of those in front of us. Sitting close to the stage and off to the side is better than being in the center and farther back. Also, don’t forget to look up! The ceiling of the theater in Merchant’s Hall is a magnificent piece of 19th century architecture.
And if you’re lucky, you might run into the friendly cast at the Jekyll and Hyde bar down the street like I did. The atmosphere was dark, but the people were all having a great time so it was really a fun place to stop by. I especially loved the bathrooms hidden behind a false wall of books, and the variety of chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. (Click on any photo to see larger pics)
I will publish a full itinerary soon, but right now I think I will be seeing this performance on 8/9. Maybe I will see you there?
|Category||Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus|
|Venue||Spotlites @ The Merchants’ Hall|
Eminent scientist Dr Henry Jekyll believes he has created a new cure for depression. In a bid for his colleagues’ approval, he agrees to self-test the drug, but he soon comes face-to-face with his disturbed alter-ego, Hyde. Pulled into the violent underbelly of London, Jekyll struggles to win a war with his own psyche. Join Headlock Theatre for a physical re-telling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic tale. ‘Cleverly interpreted and brutally realised’ **** (ThreeWeeks) on Tragedy of Titus.
Steampunk is all about literature, and nowhere else will you find so many Victorian-era characters rubbing elbows as in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from Vertigo. The creator, Alan Moore (whose brilliant mind also brought us The Watchmen) and illustrator Kevin O’Neill take their audience on a wild ride which spans several classic works of science fiction and creates a way for them to occupy the same universe.
The story opens with the corpulent Campion Bond (an ancestor of James Bond) who convinces Mina Murray (aka Wilhemina Harker’s maiden name in Dracula, 1897) to go on a recruitment mission on behalf of the British government. She picks up the opium-besotted ex-adventurer Alan Quartermain (King Solomon’s Mine, 1885) with the help of Captain Nemo and his submarine the Nautilus (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1870). After a jaunt into The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) for the title character and a school run by notorious fictional dominatrix Rosa Coote to pick up The Invisible Man (1897), the league is ready for action.
They head next to London’s East End, where the nefarious Fu Manchu (referred to only as “The Doctor” for copyright reasons) has stolen a valuable mineral that allows heavier than air flight. He is at war with another crime lord on the West End (none other than Professor Moriarty of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 1894), and the conflict is on the verge of costing countless lives. Can the heroes beat the bad guys, and the clock, to save the day?
This is a really fun book and I definitely recommend it for fans of Victorian-era fiction. Over the many iterations of the series literally hundreds of literary figures and places grace the pages, so it is kind of like a who’s who of Victoriana. I occasionally have issues with some of the liberties Moore takes with core character traits, but otherwise it is a great display of imagination. As a bonus, if you get the first volume you also get 30 pages of cover art, games, stories and fake historical factoids in the spirit of the Victorian era.
Fair warning, Volume 2 goes darker, dirtier and deadlier, and you can read all about it next week when I review it!
Have you read this book? What did you think?