Skip to main content

The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
Three stars

A crazed Mr Hyde straddles his bed-bound creator pleading with him not to kill him off because he's the only interesting character who's sprung to life from Robert Louis Stevenson's gothic tale of duality and barely repressed madness. This is a tellingly knowing nod to the twenty-first century's ongoing fascination with horror. It's there too in Lucien MacDougall and Benedicte Seierup's production, devised with nine final year students from the RCS' BA acting course, in some of the jump-cut film footage that cops its moves from the likes of American Horror Story in terms of its power to shock.

With Stevenson here cast as plain old Louis, he is woken from his medicated dream in a hospital ward and tended to by a pyjama-clad chorus who watch enraptured from the sidelines as the main action unfolds. What follows is a psycho-active explosion in Louis' head reminiscent at times of the hallucinogenic fantasias of Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective. With song one of the few devices not used here, Louis' visions of Dr Jekyll's double life as the monstrous Hyde are made flesh by way of a box of tricks that includes shadowplay, kaleidoscopic projections and composer Lewis Anderson and sound designer Sean Quinn's foley-style percussion-led live soundtrack.

At the heart of this montage-like approach are a set of performances that navigate the Chandler Studio's full expanse by way of Emma Green's set design. The programme even comes with a Cluedo-style ground-plan of Jekyll's house to fill in the gaps where Chloe-Ann Tylor's feral Hyde might venture before Ryan Havelin's Louis wakes up to a far harsher reality.

The Herald, November 10th 2015.



Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…


Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …