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The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
3 stars
One could be forgiven for a sense of déjà vu or seeing double on arriving at the second adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic exploration of man’s inner monster to grace Glasgow studio spaces in a week. Patrick Prior’s version for the London based Isosceles company, in association with Useful Idiots, is the stylistic flipside of the spare cut-up of fact and fiction that graced the Panopticon music hall last week. Director Jim Dunk’s emphasis on cheap and cheerful melodrama played out on a simple tables and chairs set by Isosceles regulars Dave Marsden and Pat
Abernethy might even have sat better in such a venue. As it is, The Citz Circle allows for an equally forensic examination of man’s addiction to playing the bad lad.

Abernethy’s Henry Jekyll is here a mild-mannered speccy science geek who, fancying himself a Superman of the Nietzchian variety, opens the doors of perception on Hyde as a Mallen-maned psychopath in a fur-collared coat. Hyde’s penchant for toffee-nosed yobbishness predates contemporary substance-fuelled intimations of immortality and the mindless violence that often stems from it.

While one can’t help but hanker after ex Citz director Kenny Miller’s own uniquely sensual diversions down back-alley Victoriana, Abernethy and Marsden make a great stab at Prior’s gradually unfolding text. With every emotional nuance wrung out of it, a packed audience, already familiar with Isosceles’ work via On The Road To Lisbon, the company’s similarly two-man depiction of Celtic’s 1967 European Cup victory, sit rapt at such conversely dark materials.

The Herald, May 17th 2007

ends

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