So many things about the Theatre Society’s performance of Jekyll and Hyde tore through the goal posts of my expectations.
The calibre of its professionalism, with a set complete with working lamppost, and a high standard of orchestra and lighting, this show forever changed my expectations for student productions. There was no tinge of secondary school play here, no overemphasised lines or tuneless voices, and very little I would improve upon.
Led by the extraordinary rendition of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by first year undergraduate Felix Revell, the singing of the main characters was as a rule clear and strong. Regrettably, mention must be made of the unfortunate microphones, as occasionally lines would be completely inaudible. Nevertheless, female lead characters Lucy and Emma were performed with dexterity by Rebecca Aboud and Amber Cox. Aboud as a beautiful soprano was especially touching and sincere in her duets with Jekyll and her father, while Cox naturally brought her character to life with her sultry and effortless voice, lacking the strain and fatigue of some in Act Two. The chorus, although occasionally uncertain in their footwork and presentation, consistently produced harmonies of an excellent quality. Finally, the glittering north star of the show, Revell gave an emotional leading performance in typical musical theatre style, near the emphasis and drama of the West End.
So much went right in this show
The change from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde is distinct with the donning of a top hat, coat, and cane, but more than this it is through the immense physicality of Revell that the two characters are always discrete. Hyde, with his deeper voice, twisted expression and evil chuckle, is completely different to the softer Jekyll. The physicality in his transformation between the two, and the commitment in frequently falling to the floor in pain is admirable.
So much went right in this show, and although the cast seemed averse to touch, touching from arm’s length and dropping all embraces approaching the wing, all faults were enlarged under my magnifying glass of critique, and mostly inconsequential for the audience. If my only desire was to hunt and discover blunders, then with this performance, I would have been disappointed.