The Highly anticipated Jekyll & Hyde The Musical which has been gaining acclaim from critics worldwide finally arrives in Sydney and it’s definitely been worth the wait! Aptly described as a dark gothic musical and loosely based on the 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, this production should prove a hit amongst theatregoers.
Set in St Jude’s Military Asylum London, in 1947 the story focuses on Doctor Henry Jekyll, whose passion is to discover why man can be good and evil. He believes he can separate evil from good and save the damned, so he self-administers a formula he has concocted and releases an aggressive personality named Hyde who takes control.
Can Jekyll return to the goodness of his previous life, or will Hyde permanently have control and continue to murder? Jekyll’s intentions were noble but is he a madman or martyr?
The success of this musical lies predominantly in casting an actor who could not only sing but would be able to credibly portray two diverse characters, traversing back and forth. The chosen actor to play the role was Brendan Maclean, an Australian singer-songwriter-actor who delivers a powerhouse performance in his first musical theatre production. A star is born in the world of musical theatre!
There’s no theatrical wizardry utilized for Jekyll’s spine-tingling transformation scenes into the evil Hyde. Audiences will experience the transformation through pure acting – the voice, facial expressions, singing, tone and movement differentiate each character.
Brady Peeti, a proud transgender Wahine Maori is a standout in the role of Lucy Harris, Jekyll’s mistress. Her vocals are sublime, and she also provides the comedic moments which spawns most of the laughter. Audiences may never see a Lucy like this Lucy ever again. Georgina Hopson also shines in a pivotal role as Emma Carew, Jekyll’s bride to be.
The 32 songs performed in this musical may not be as widely known as those in Mary Poppins or The Phantom Of The Opera but there are several including This Is The Moment which most audiences should be familiar with.
Many creative geniuses have collectively contributed to the success of this musical. The astute direction by Hayden Tee, the incredible talents of the supporting cast, the members of the chamberlike orchestra and the choreographer, just to name a few.
A special mention must also be given to the lighting designer for cleverly utilizing red lighting to indicate the barbaric murders Hyde commits which simultaneously downplays the visual violence of the scenes.
Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical is quintessentially a theatrical production whose purpose is not just to entertain, but also to highlight the enormous talent that the local arts have to offer.