More humour needed in old tale of horror

Jekyll and Hyde, The Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Thursday, 8th September 2016, 11:43 am
Updated Monday, 12th September 2016, 4:43 pm
Jekyll and Hyde
Jekyll and Hyde

When Robert Louis Stevenson created this horror story 130 years ago he also gave our language a common catchphrase for the potential for good and evil in all.

Unwittingly, perhaps, he also left behind a conundrum for anyone reading or adapting the story since.

Namely that the audience know the identity of Dr Jekyll’s devilish doppelganger long before anyone on the page, or – as here – the stage, seem to twig...

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It rather steals the surprise, and certainly takes any fright out of the night, but it does not stop the industrious Talking Scarlet theatre company doing their beastly best to inject some dramatic darkness back into the story.

The elaborate plot demands all sorts of flashbacks that require framing of scenes within scenes and are played out around dark and perpetually-smoking ruins.

The cast of 10 play out a busy game of Hyde and seek, several doubling up as other characters and all managing to make street scenes look convincingly crowded.

While it’s all undoubtedly faithful to the characters and gothic style of the original, the occasional exchanges between the upright amateur detective Gabriel Utterson (Neil Roberts) and more laconic Inspector Newcomen (Ben Crowe) suggest a little more humour might be just what this Dr Jekyll ordered?

It continues here until Saturday.

David Upton