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As a big fan of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, I was very excited to see Boiling Point’s spin-off. It plays with some of the main themes of the original story: a concentration on the splitting of personalities and the dangers which ensue. However, I felt that the darker side of the Jekyll and Hyde concept was not touched upon at all; the enemy in this production was the state, rather than any inner darkness. What was so fantastic about the original – the idea of a hidden dark side and the temptation to set this loose - was completely lost.

The production was ultimately let down further by the lack of nuance from the performers, despite their admirable and boundless energy.

As a narrative and concept in its own right, it is uninspiring, unfortunately. Its saving grace was its high quality production value; visually, the play is stunning. There are vertical bars of bright light on stage, and huge steampunk costumes, with goggles and cogs and the whole shebang. The music is powerful, and accompanies sections of physical theatre and dance. All of these factors are genuinely a joy to watch and add a much needed difference in pace to the performance.

The show continues to visually excite with a particularly stunning section of shadow puppetry to tell the original tale of Jekyll and Hyde. This was a totally appropriate medium with which to tell the story and fit in very nicely with the steampunk aesthetic; definitely the highlight of the piece.

The high energy of the six performers was engaging at first. However, it became less inspiring as it continued in a very one-note manner. There was a lack of conviction from the six, which was perhaps why at times it was hard to tell the characters’ personalities apart. Some stronger directing was needed here in order to pull off the ambitious writing. Doing justice to the intricacies of the characters is vital to the working of the piece, I imagine, and sadly this was not achieved; there was not enough light and shade, and so the crescendo at the end felt forced.

Aesthetically, this is faultless, and the concept was more than enough to reel me in. However, I felt slightly let down by the execution and lack of engagement with the core ideas of Jekyll and Hyde – which could have been brilliantly used in the setting that the play creates. The production was ultimately let down further by the lack of nuance from the performers, despite their admirable and boundless energy. 

Reviews by Chloe-Louise Saunders

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The Blurb

London, 1884. It is long years since the disappearance of Dr Jekyll, but the machinations of the government ensure that his work continues. Thanks to the Jekyll serum, each citizen of London has become a cog in a well-made machine. But stories echo in the shadows and steam, those who speak against this new order disappear, and strange mechanical servants have been seen in the homes of the rich and powerful. In this steam-powered world of clockwork and conformity, six extraordinary women will try to seek out the truth and take hold of their own destinies...

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