The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Working with a tight script from Stuart Crowther and some inspired direction from Stephen Smith, Threedumb Theatre have created a wonderfully atmospheric version of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which works extremely well within this short, Fringier time-frame and the hybrid necessities of lockdown theatre. Indeed, one of the few dramatic joys to come from CV19 is to see how smaller companies are leading the way in terms of performance creativity: well-used to adapting to challenges of making any sort of theatre viable, the originality and heart emanating from such productions is more than uncommonly warming and more than usually gratifying. This particular blend of media allows a much greater sense of the hallucinogenic than would otherwise ever be possible: jerking camera angles dragging us into Jekyll’s abyss, disembodied voices suggesting an otherworldly isolation from reality.

A well-loved show whose devilish delight is in the significant detail.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is one of those tales which seeps – somewhat aptly - into the consciousness. No-one ever seems quite sure where they first read it… if they even have read it… which one is Jekyll and which one is Hyde… but still we know it. In our bones. Because it is – one hopes to an exaggerated extent – the story of our own human duality. As individuals, it is a struggle we face daily: from the casual lie of “The cheque’s in the post” to the rather more weighty “Where will that extra biscuit lead?” As a global society, the genie is more fully out of the bottle: we are surely collectively nearing the point where Jekyll fears Hyde may be rather more than an infrequent visitor… with much hilarity lying in the precarious realisation that all sides are anxious it is their path of righteousness which has been strayed from.

Years before hygge or even – whisper it softly - the profundity of ‘live, laugh, love’ wall art, our nineteenth century literary forebears knew a thing or two about the quest for personal fulfilment. Be it vampires, noxious substances or supernatural works of art, the Victorian search for a prism through which to excuse the insistent nudging of sexual decadence is of course central to the Jekyll and Hyde story. But that Edward Hyde can attain levels of assumed debauchery free of the rigid morality which constrains Henry Jekyll is only the beginning of the story. For the cautionary tale here is of the respected pillar of the community who, having sipped from the heady cocktail of depravity, needs more and ever more to slake his lust. Yes, those Victorians also knew a thing or two about emotional self-flagellation, and whilst we are largely left to guess what starts this descent into evil, we are left thoroughly concluded that he would have been far better off leaving that pesky potion alone in the first place.

For the uninitiated, Dr Jekyll is a well-respected chap whose tinkering with chemicals leads to metamorphosis into Mr Hyde – a creature whose carnal lusts birth more and more violent and bloody means of satisfaction. Jekyll (originally thought to have been pronounced to rhyme with ‘treacle’ in Stevenson’s original Scots dialect) worries about these visits. His friends worry. His servants worry. But as in all cautionary tales, the writing was really on the wall from the outset. Hyde will kill Jekyll as surely as he has every other dissenter who has wandered into his path. The moral is clear: beware of that which is lurking inside you. Don’t deviate. Keep clean. Remain respectable.

As Jekyll, Jonathan Davenport must be congratulated on his astute judgement of a character who could, in the wrong hands, so easily fall towards a Grand Guignol caricature. His performance is as one with the special effects which mark his psychological torment, and Davenport somehow manages to give a generous performance in what is essentially a one-man show. It is of course this intellectual bounty and depth of connection that gives much of the Fringe its own in-built sequins: when storytelling is and remains your primary objective, you can remain true.

From the opening meander around the stalls to the credit boards and everything in between, this is a well-loved show whose devilish delight is in the significant detail which has been lavished on it. As armchair theatre goes: this is definitely worth changing channels for.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Rebecca Vines

theSpace @ Symposium Hall

Semi-Toned Presents: A Study in Burgundy

★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Somebody Special – The Aca-Betrayal

★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

1001 Open Mic Nights

★★★
theSpace @ Symposium Hall

Shakespeare's Fool

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

“I dare say you’ll think me mad. Indeed, perhaps that is so.”

Henry Jekyll is a doctor; a man of God, born on the Sabbath. Respectable. Upstanding. So why does he long for the darkness? And isn’t that… blood on his cuff?

Adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a timely meditation on the evil that men do in pursuit of all that they can be.

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets