It’s a classic tale of good versus evil; an enduring story originally penned by Robert Louis Stevenson. Exactly 130 years after the great wordsmith wrote the novella, productions of the musical version of Jekyll and Hyde are helping to keep this glorious story’s legacy alive.
Though the musical didn’t debut until over a century after the story was written, it has become one of the most performed shows by amateur groups.
Bournville Musical Theatre Company treads where many have before and holds its own with the very best of them in this refined production.
Phil Snowe impresses as Jekyll, handling what is a very demanding leading man part commendably. The transition between Dr Jekyll and his vicious alter ego Hyde is distinct and believable with the constant struggle between good and bad coming across well as the genius Jekyll’s increasingly risky experiments to expunge all evil from the world go badly wrong.
Chloe Turner is mesmerising as a show-stealing Lucy Harris, another of the story’s tragic figures who dreams of a life much better than the one she has at the Red Rat brothel. Turner is note perfect in a beautiful rendition of Someone Like You and when you think it can get no better dazzles further in A New Life. Her characterisation and poise are a delight to watch and wouldn’t look out of place on a professional stage.
It’s a credit to the quality of the society that Claire Brough, as Jekyll’s long-suffering fiancée Emma Carew, has equally impressive vocals; combining beautifully with Turner’s in a rendition of In His Eyes which brings the house down.
Adam Heeley is wonderfully sleazy and menacing as the pimp and proprietor of the Red Rat, Spider.
Meanwhile John Clay stands out in a number of high-quality supporting roles as the majorly General Glossop. Kris Evans and John Morrison have suitable gravitas as Simon Stride and Sir Danvers Carew, while Jonathan Eastwood and Jill Hughes are wickedly upper class as Lord Savage and Lady Beaconsfield.
Despite the best efforts of Jekyll’s friend John Utterson (Rob Wheeler) Jekyll becomes more and more consumed by his experiments and the grizzly story reaches its climax with Snowe’s impressive rendition of The Confrontation.
The production's chorus members are a credit to the society in a show which requires every member to have an on-stage persona. The harmonies were excellent throughout and the energy never drops; Girls of the Night is a particular highlight.
Sadie Turner’s choreography is sharp, compact and well-executed, particularly in numbers like Facade and Murder.
An atmospheric set transports the audience back to Victorian England and well-executed lighting helps the action move on at pace, with a few small hitches with the sound dropping out - not enough to detract from the action.
Meanwhile Chris Corcoran's band ably belts out what must surely be one of the all-time great musical soundtracks.
Director Terry Wheddon and his team can rest assured this thoroughly engaging production does Stevenson’s classic justice.
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