Theatre review: Jekyll & Hyde
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: Jekyll & Hyde at Assembly Roxy (Venue 139), reviewed by Joyce McMillan
On A small stage, with an ingenious set by Joanna Scotcher that evokes both a Victorian gothic streetscape and a series of sinister interiors, two men in white-face make-up and period costume are posturing around in the worst possible student-drama style. They assume elaborately posh accents, yowl their way through some deliberately grotesque song, and provide a framing narrative for this new and radical version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll And Hyde by Jonathan Hollaway.
The omens are not good, in other words, and the temptation to rise up and flee the theatre is almost overwhelming; but for those who grit their teeth and stay the course, Jessica Edwards’s production finally offers a memorable mix of the unbearably mannered and the strangely brilliant, as Holloway experiments with the idea of a female Jekyll driven mad by the gender constraints of the age, a superb scientist who also prowls the city like a sexually liberated vampire.
Cristina Catalina is impressive as Jekyll, Michael Edwards turns in a fine performance as the baffled Utterson, the object of her desire; and despite the old-fashioned 1980s physical-theatre aesthetic that seems to drive the choral element of the production, Holloway’s text adds a new dimension to our understanding of Stevenson’s masterpiece.
MORE INFO: Jekyll & Hyde at Assembly Roxy (Venue 139), until 25 August
Originally published in The Scotsman