Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: Jekyll & Hyde

Jekyll & Hyde as you’ve never seen it, in the sexiest, most absurdly hilarious rollercoaster ride ever

Jekyll & Hyde as you’ve never seen it, in the sexiest, most absurdly hilarious rollercoaster ride ever

Presented by: A Slightly Isolated Dog and Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed: 7 June 2024

Ah, the classic tale of Jekyll & Hyde: a dark, serious, gothic examination of the nature of good and evil. Right? Not after it has received the A Slightly Isolated Dog treatment. They have taken the bare bones of the original story and created a whirlwind hour of absurdity and hilarity.

The show begins in the foyer, with the cast, flamboyant, sexy, and speaking in outrageous French accents, welcoming the audience into the theatre and mingling among the cabaret tables chatting to patrons. The show’s beginning merges seamlessly from this warming up period, effectively keeping the audience as another player in the show. Cabaret tables fill the Space Theatre, including the stage, initially making it unclear as to where the performance will actually take place. Turns out, the entire theatre is a stage, and the audience are also players. The performers narrate the story, taking turns playing the titular role with the use of a top hat or wig to denote the character at any given moment, and audience members become the other characters in the show, often coached with cue cards. Kudos to each other audience members called upon for leaping wholeheartedly into their roles and adding to the production, though this is made easier by the wholly comfortable and welcoming atmosphere the actors create.

Together, actors and audience tell the tale of Dr Jekyll, an upstanding man who spirals into darkness after being dumped by his girlfriend. Dr Jekyll, concerned for his good reputation, takes a potion that turns him into someone else, allowing him to indulge in his basest desires without ruining his reputation. However, Mr Hyde takes things much too far, doing countless evil deeds (described by the actors at dizzying speed and with simple yet effective use of props), until it is clear that something must be done to stop Mr Hyde’s rampage.

The show often embraces the absurd, leading to unexpected moments of hilarity, and leans into a sense of sensuality, from costuming to descriptions of what is happening (such as the ‘sensual fog’). At times the pace is so fast that it is literally dizzying, and sometimes all the actors are speaking at once, which can be a little overwhelming, but impeccably timed sound effects are used to bring the cast back to a moment of unison with a key phrase and a sharp movement. Overall, Jekyll & Hyde is a sexy, madcap rollercoaster from start to finish, with actors and audience members working together to create an unforgettable retelling of this classic tale.

Reviewed by Kristin Stefanoff

Photo credit: Kyham Ross

Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 7-9 June
Duration: 60min
Tickets: $54 – $59

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