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Jekyll and Hyde The Musical - REVIEW

By KieraSmitheramBlogs 07 May 2019

BA Musical Theatre Performance Company offer a thrilling evening of theatre at the Alexandra Theatre.

Suspenseful, surprising, and stirring, the Musical Theatre Performance Company have once again produced a musical of staggering quality. Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll and Hyde, based on the gothic novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, tells the story of the ambitious Dr. Henry Jekyll and his doomed plight to free the world from evil. What he creates is a monstrous, manic creature that teaches all involved to always look twice.  

MTP Course Co-ordinator Andrew Wright directed and produced the show. He brought a sleekness and dazzling level of professionalism to the company. His utilisation of the chorus was extremely effective and allowed the dark, eerie atmosphere of Victorian London to ooze into every scene, with eyes in every corner. Kelvin Towse’s musical direction showcased the incredible capabilities of the cast and a great love of the music, which was handled fantastically. Nothing felt rushed or lagging, and the band were sounding stellar. Though the show details a chaotic individual, the singers and instrumentalists were flawless.  Frankie Huin-Wah’s designs for this show were spectacular. The versatile steel frame, oxidised and rust-ridden harked back to the fading glory of the Industrial Revolution. The use of screens and mirrors added to the overall theme of distorted facades brilliantly. The costumes looked stunning, adding real class to the production.

Adam Stickler made a fine Henry Jekyll; a poised, endearing, and determined young man who spirals into a broken wretch, having succeeded in his quest at the cost of his own life. This dizzying descent into the depths of desperation for answers was astoundingly portrayed. John-Jake Harding wreaked absolute havoc as Jekyll’s twisted alter ego Edward Hyde, and it was a phenomenon to behold. His performance was fantastically animalistic, with wild-eyed stalking paired with some knock-out vocals. The choice of casting two actors as the two personalities was an interesting choice with a satisfying pay-off. Being a lover of the original text I was initially sceptical, but Stickler and Harding laid all of my doubts to rest.

Leanne Banks was radiant as Emma Carew. Her sweet and steady nature paired with her astonishing vocal prowess made her a delight to watch. Alice Stride’s portrayal of Lucy Harris was astounding. She gave a strong, sensual, and compassionate performance that packed a lot of punch.  Banks and Strides’ duet In His Eyes brought the house down with a perfect blend of true heart and powerhouse vocals from both. George Groom as John Utterson, Jekyll’s long-suffering lawyer, gave a grounded and heartfelt performance. During the final scene he really came into his own, doing the only thing he could to help his friend with a poignant mix of heartbreak and relief.

The ensemble were exceptionally strong in the production. The gaggle of hypocritical hospital governors, the upper-class toffs, and the scarlet-clad residents of the Red Rat all gave everything they had to create the shallow and grimy world of 1880s London. Their collective drive, passion, and talent was inspiring.  The breath-taking dance sequences, choreographed by Sam Spencer-Lane, added to the spectacle. Bring on the Men was a true show-stopper; scintillating, frank, and enticing.

The entire company should be immensely proud of what they have achieved with this piece. They have proved once again that the Musical Theatre Department really know how to put on a show that resonates. If you missed this wondrous offering, you can catch the final musical of the 18/19 season, The Stationmaster at the Assembly Theatre from the 20th-22nd June. 

Watch Jekyll and Hyde in the making

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KieraSmitheramBlogs is Kiera is a 3rd year BMus Vocal Performance student from Cornwall. She is a singer, actress, essayist, saxophonist, apprentice lecturer, and reviewer who has worked with world-renowned creative minds, such as author Alan M Kent and composer Howard Moody. You can read some of her essays here:
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