Jekyll and Hyde

Jekyll and Hyde – 3 stars

The success of Stevenson's story has always been the depth of his characters, which this adaptation lacked at times.

by Natalia Equihua

What happens when bad thoughts materialize in actions? This is the premise surrounding Jekyll and Hyde, a modernization of the famous story by Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson.

In this adaptation, we find Henry Jekyll, a young and successful scientist whose research is about to reach its pinnacle: he's created a drug that can cure anxiety and depression. But here's the catch: his family has a history of mental illnesses and thus his research furiously focuses on curing his sister Rose from her own illness before it's too late.

Henry seems like any other scientist, but he hides an obscure side: his obsession with his work and his ambition to succeed give him the idea to test his drug on himself. And so the transformation begins. Bodies contort as Henry's mind does too. Music explodes with a physicality that translates Henry's emotions into pure fearlessness. The anxiety builds, filling the atmosphere with sheer darkness in anticipation of Henry Jekyll's infamous alter ego: Hyde.

As opposed to the novel where Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde appear intermittently but never together, this play focuses on their duality represented by two different actors. The dialogue magnificently threads this critical duplicity, yet the result is less terrifying than expected. The characters of Jekyll and Hyde don't fail to impress separately, but as a unity, one wishes the emotion that unites them was more gripping. Their scenes together were reminiscent of the typical angel vs devil scenes we all remember seeing at the cinema. Yet, the success of Stevenson's story has always been the depth of his characters, which this adaptation lacked at times.

From beginning to end, Jekyll and Hyde draws you deep into the twisted and changing psychology of its main character. We don't know any more whether to hate Henry, or to hope for his recovery. The storyline helps to build this emotion as it takes a different stance on the classic story: Henry actually has a purpose, all he wants is to save his sister Rose. Questions haunt him and us, as his actions become vengeful: Will Henry be able to recover his composure and save his sister? Or will evil succeed in conquering his more humane side?

Each question is soon answered, leaving only one thing clear: “everyone thinks bad things sometimes …It's part of being human."

Reviews by Natalia Equihua

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Performances

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The Blurb

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.

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