One man show Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre was entertaining and disturbing – all at the same time. Read the review below
Thrill seekers looking for some Halloween scares sat in the dimly lit room of the MET inside Stafford Gatehouse Theatre last night, not knowing what to expect from actor and producer James Hyland.
What immediately became apparent was Mr Hyland’s incredible ability to shift between two characters which were one and the same, yet so distinctly different. His depiction of Mr Hyde saw him walk with a sort of club foot, contort his hands into unnatural gestures and put everyone on edge with his facial and verbal monstrous outbursts. Meanwhile, Dr Jekyll was the picture of a gentleman and showed nothing but hate and revolution for his counterpart.
We found ourselves repulsed by the murderous actions of Mr Hyde, which were described so vividly that it was impossible to look away from the simple wooden lectern used as a prop for the whole performance. We watched with growing anticipation and horror as the goblin-like man taunted and spat at it, when it was representing an injured child, then we looked away in disgust when he used the prop to mark the position of a prostitute he was repeatedly stabbing and butchering with vile delight. It was a fantastic use of theatre of the mind, which is so depended upon with such a solo performance.
A constant sense of suspense and anticipation kept the audience at the edge of their seats, and this came to a head when the lights began to dim. Suddenly, a knife appeared, glinting in what was left of the light. The room plunged into darkness and the shadowy figure of Mr Hyde/Dr Jekyll in his final form crept among us, brandishing his new prop. It was very tense and delivered upon the need for that feeling of deep dread and unease that only gothic horror can provide. A fantastic, powerful and frightful performance.
For more information about Brother Wolf productions, and to see upcoming tour dates, visit brotherwolf.org.uk. To check what’s coming up at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, visit staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk.
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