Written by Zack Johnston
Beloved musical thriller Jekyll & Hyde opened at the Mysterium Theatre on Friday, September 4th.
Dr. Jekyll is a sophisticated yet tenacious scientist fascinated with the concepts of good and evil, who conducts unorthodox experiments on himself. These result in an alternate, wicked personality forming inside of him that wreaks havoc on the streets of London.
In a valiant effort spearheaded by Co-directors Jessica Taylor and Stacee Tweedlie, an impressively talented cast makes this dark classic an enjoyable spectacle, but the show remains in the realm of amateurism. Taylor and Tweedlie’s production excels because of their own talented performances, as well as those from the other principal performers, but it falls flat in its execution and staging.
Glaring shortcomings in the design and direction aspects of the production are riddled throughout the performance. However, among the fumbling transitions and awkward blocking, there are glimpses of passionate and authentic talent.
Playing the show’s titular characters in an impressive dual performance is Adam Bradley Clinton. His striking tenor vocals make him amazing to watch. When the charming Dr. Jekyll transforms into the devious Mr. Hyde, Clinton displays remarkable physicality in his performance.
A greater distinction between the Jekyll and Hyde characters could make for a more profound performance, but Clinton still manages to be direct and full of energy in every moment.
Mark Slama plays Dr. Jekyll’s soon-to-be father-in-law. In his portrayal of Carew, the seasoned actor delivers an elegant blend of support for Jekyll’s endeavors intermingled with concern for his wellbeing. A character with similar intentions is Dr. Jekyll’s close friend and attorney, John Utterson. John Korbonski performs the part of this level-headed lawyer with an appropriate amount of sternness and compassion.
With her superb soprano voice, Taylor plays Jekyll’s adoring fiancee Emma. Throughout her performance, Taylor is able to maintain Emma’s unconditional love for her future husband despite the harrowing perils they face. Tweedlie plays the part of the alluring temptress, Lucy. Tweedlie displays the anguish and hurt that envelopes Lucy’s character. As Lucy becomes infatuated with both Jekyll Hyde, Tweedlie demonstrates great character development in her performance.
Even in an outstanding ensemble cast, Judy Ballard’s charisma and charming humor cannot be forgotten. Her performance in the role of Nellie is excellent.
Mysterium Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde may be a bit rough around the edges, but within those edges there is promising talent and a timeless story. Jekyll & Hyde plays through Sept. 27.
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