"Jekyll & Hyde" by Tabs Productions
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
As Andrew Fettes, the actor who played "Hyde" said at the end of the show, "it soon comes round, doesn't it?", and it does, and I for one was looking forward to the new Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season, which started on Monday night with Robert Louis Stevenson's gothic thriller, "Jekyll & Hyde".
The story of Dr Henry Jekyll who, after a tot or two of smoky bubbling liquid, turns into the evil killer, Mr Edward Hyde.Hyde is pursued by lawyer and Jekyll's close friend Gabriel Utterson, followed closely behind by Inspector Newcomen and his trusty sidekick Detective Constable whoever, his name's not given and isn't important anyway in the context of the story.
Andrew Ryan plays Utterson who has the feeling that something isn't quite right with his close friend Dr Jekyll and his other close friend, Dr Hastie Lanyon but can't quite fathom the connection between Jekyll, Lanyon and Hyde until after Jekyll's and Lanyon's death when all is revealed in a letter to Utterson. You can always rely on Mr Ryan to deliver a cracking performance and this is one of Andrew's more serious and melodramatic roles.
David Gilbrook plays the Inspector who clings on like a dog with a bone until he gets the answers he wants; his sidekick played by relative newcomer, Ryan Mitchell.
Dr Jekyll is played by Robert Laughlin, and while there's every opportunity to take the character really over the top, Robert kept the thrashing around within the realms of Victorian believability.His counterpart, the evil Mr Hyde is played with evil relish by Andrew Fettes.
There are some lovely minor character roles played by Susan Earnshaw, David Osmond, Anna Mitcham and Elise Solis and Charlotte Wright, who are both from Nottingham and play the two juvenile girls in the play. With a cast such as this, they must have had great fun.
Melodrama is the key and the Victorian London set design, plus the lighting and sound heightened and highlighted the suspense. The wonderful red and black lighting silhouetting Hyde was extremely powerful and just part of the effective and evocative lighting design by Michael Donoghue. The eerie sound effects designed by David Gilbrook.
Directed by Nicholas Briggs, he really keeps the suspense up, which does not come as a surprise as he has a solid grounding in recent TV Dr Who productions.
If you're a regular Thriller Season fan, you'll know exactly what to expect and you won't be in for a disappointment. if you wish to venture away from the TV thrillers and murder mysteries and see a live thriller, you will love it, and even if you don't get into this gothic masterpiece, there three more weeks of classics to follow.
"Jekyll and Hyde" can be seen at Nottingham's Theatre Royal until Saturday 8 August 2015 and is a solid start to this year's season. Don't hyde away, come and see it!