The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde at the charming and always enjoyable Jack Studio Theatre is a stunning modern take on a classic tale of a malicious split personality and internal turmoil. This re-imagining in Trump’s America soars as a political thriller, exploring the many masks we wear and the struggle between good and bad, light and dark, that takes place within each person.
The performance sees young, ambitious and passionate Indiana Senator Henry Jekyll enter the race to become President. His path crosses with investigative journalist Gabrielle, who is haunted by her tragic past and determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of the assault of a young girl. She’s hired to work on his campaign, but as the election heats up, her suspicions and fears regarding Mr Edward Hyde, Jekyll’s (secret) former lover, take centre stage as she and her prostitute lover Imogen dig into just how deep the hold is that Hyde has on Jekyll.
The acting is outstanding. The show belongs to Will Pinchin, who delivers a flawless performance as Henry Jekyll. As the narrative descends further into darkness, it’s impossible to take your eyes off of him. Lucy Ioannou is excellent as the moody, broken daughter of a criminal, trying to bury her troubled past, while Gabrielle Nellis-Pain, Christopher Tester, and Charlie Ryall all shine in their roles to bring this well-acted production to life.
The staging is also a delight. With just a few run-down walls and an incredibly clever use of screens, it manages to be a whore house, a mayor’s office, a science laboratory and a school classroom all in one go. The styling and lights set the stage for a modern dystopian landscape with a strong element of Blade Runner visuals – and this works well for the subject matter.
There is so much to love about this production, but equally, there are so many topics of discontent to cover in today’s America that the production occasionally overreaches and provides too many strings of discontent in one bow. There are a lot of angry diatribes on a variety of subjects – some, like shootings and the second amendment – make sense, and fit in with the context of the play, but others feel as if they are shoe-horned in. There’s a stunning overlay of video footage of black civil rights protests set to a bone-chilling Christmas carol – but this doesn’t quite fit in with all the other issues the production addresses and, as with the real world, there’s so many instances of injustice that it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed.
This is a production well worth seeing. It’s a fantastic example of taking a classic story and updating for a modern audience. There’s twists and turns, and moments of surprise that will make you gasp. This is a Jekyll and Hyde that brutally captures a moment in time, and it’s a performance that’s absolutely not to be missed.
Written and Directed by: Ross McGregor
Produced by: Christopher Tester
Box Office: 0333 666 3366
Booking Link: https://brockleyjack.co.uk/jackstudio-entry/the-strange-case-of-jekyll-hyde/
Booking Until: 28 September 2019