With a stunning cast and great direction, Jekyll and Hyde may be one of the best plays I have attended this year. The Blackeyed theatre company brought Robert Louis Stevenson’s words to life on the stage.
Jack Bannell’s characterisation of Jekyll and Hyde was fascinating. The change between the distraught Doctor and the murderous Hyde was seamless, and all together spine tingling.
Both Zach Lee and Ashley Sean-Cook played their characters beautifully. You could hear the terror in Ashley’s voice as Hyde’s true nature is revealed to his character Hastings Landon. Lee’s portrayal of the distressed Utterson, left the room silent for a few moments as they processed the decision he was forced to make at the end of the play.
The stand out character, however, was Paige Round playing Eleanor Lanyon. Eleanor is a character that has been added to this adaptation to add an extra layer of confrontation between Jekyll and his colleague Hastings Landon (Eleanor’s husband). The Birmingham born actress portrayed her character with true emotion while keeping up an almost seamless Irish accent.
The play took place with one back drop, subtly altered when the cast changed scenery. Cleverly using UV paint to conceal Jekyll’s notes scrawled on the wall as he sinks into desperation.
The initial personality shift is extremely well staged, carefully planned lighting changes and whispers put the audience on edge as Jekyll loses himself for the first time. Without a doubt, some of the most chilling stage work that I have seen.
A truly superb performance, a wonderfully thought provoking drama
The Blackeyed theatre company has one more performance at the Lichfield Garrick that has sold out. However, there are still tickets available at other locations, see website for details.