BrumHour saw Jekyll and Hyde at the invitation of Birmingham Rep.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Jekyll and Hyde at Birmingham Rep
This play contains adult themes and misogynistic language.
Written by Evan Placey and Directed by Tessa Walker
Jekyll and Hyde is a curious play is told in two one-hour stories at Birmingham Rep until 27th April with The Young REP.
Our modern narrator Florence (Ella Kirk) initially introduces us to the Victorian world of Harriot Jekyll (Niamh Franklin) and her alter ego Hyde (Sophie Mae Reynolds) through announcing chapter titles and the first half looks at the sadness of Harriot’s life, the aftermath of grief and the stigma of widowhood, her wish to continue her husbands work and the resistance of the male community of scientists to allow her to join them.
As the walls break down further Florence becomes further involved with the plot until it starts to consume her.
This is a quirky female led story twists Jekyll and Hyde on its head and flips it inside out, it explores modern society and equality as well as holding up a mirror to the past. In fact both of the mirrors on stage have no glass in them at all. The set is changed by the actors who in certain scenes stand like a public mob, or use movement choreography to move across the stage, and to disguise the transformation of Mrs Jekyll into Miss Hyde.
It’s really great to see this group of young actors at the start of their theatre journey exploring some very adult themes, For me the stand outs were the main three female actors, plus Elijah McDowell as Rentford and Miles Dunkley who plays a rentboy. Some of the dialogue needed to be said louder to fill the theatre even further especially when the actors are not facing the audience. (LOUDER I SAY, LOUDER.)
This fresh young cast dressed in full Victorian style costume apart from our narrator Ella Kirk who stands out in her orange Bianca Jackson sleeveless duck down jacket.
Like all great stories there is a twist in the tale and I would have like to see this twist play out earlier in the story as it opened the plot up massively.
This is bold experimental theatre with splashes light humour in the first half which becomes much more dark in the second half and while not a time travel story itself. It made me think of Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes.
The idea of the influencer writing on social media and the impact of their writing, to incite, approve and impact was not lost on me as I sat writing this review. People called influencers are influenced themselves by everything around them.
Tickets to Jekyll and Hyde, which is at Birmingham Rep until 27th April are available here: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/jekyll-and-hyde.html
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