Presented by Marie Clark Musical Theatre
Reviewed 26 May 2017
Marie Clark has made a name for itself by bringing exciting contemporary musicals to Adelaide and their latest offering is Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s Jekyll and Hyde. This musical has seen many incarnations over its history and charts the story of Dr Henry Jekyll as he attempts to separate the good and evil within humans but instead creates the demonic Edward Hyde. This production features some fantastic performances but is greatly hampered by directorial and technical issues on opening night.
David MacGillivray delivers a fine performance in the dual role of Jekyll and Hyde. Opening night nerves did affect his first few scenes but once settled, MacGillivray shows he has the acting chops to pull of this role with vocal highlights including This is the Moment, Alive and Dangerous Game. His manic portrayal of Hyde is far removed from previous interpretations and will be divisive but it sent chills throughout the opening night audience – specifically in the very first transformation. The complete physical transformation between the two characters is magnificent and MacGillivray should be commended for his work.
As Jekyll’s suffering fiancée Emma, Ashley Muldrew’s voice soars like an angel and she does the most with a thinly written character. The show does not give much opportunity for the character to grow, but Muldrew makes the best of her scenes and displays lovely chemistry with MacGillivray. This material sounds as if it was written for her voice and the whole show seems to lift when she opens her mouth.
In the role of Lucy, Sarah Wildy shines with a powerhouse voice and touching characterisation. Much of the score for Lucy is incredibly demanding but Wildy navigates it well and clearly displays her impressive singing talents. Unfortunately, odd accent choices mean that both Bring on the Men and Someone Like You are rife with harsh and unpleasant vowels. This choice does not pay testament to Wildy’s evident ability and it’s disappointing that this gets in the way.
Marie Clark’s production, however is not entirely good news. Notable issues prevent this show from every truly settling into a cohesive experience but some of these could definitely smooth out over the run. Rodney Bates’ sound design seems careless with an incredibly inconsistent mix, missed microphone cues and an incessant crackling throughout the performance.
The ensemble work can be hit and miss with some pleasant harmony work but greatly varying energy levels between individuals. Notable performances in smaller roles include Chris Daniels, Damien Baker, Matthew Redmond and Max Kavanagh. It is disappointing that the chorus seemed underprepared and execution of the choreography was sloppy. Hopefully this develops over the course of the show’s run. Rebekah Stonelake’s work as choreographer – although potentially being a bit too modern for the setting – was very interesting and effective, notably during Murder, Murder.
Pacing is another central issue as song tempos remain slow but the show still seems to move too fast without pause for character or mood development. Many of the songs drag as the actors walk around the stage with endless busywork and this affects two of the loveliest ballads in the show – This Is The Moment and A New Life. With performers such as MacGillivray and Wildy, these songs would have been more effective if they were allowed to settle and perform.
Ben Stefanoff’s orchestra performs well but synthesised sound does detract from the overall orchestral sound of the score. A better sound mix may have assisted in smoothing out this difference.
Although there are flaws with this production, the central cast deliver solid and enjoyable performances. It is most likely that many of the problems will smooth out as the run develops and cast becomes more settled. .
Reviewed by Nathan Quadrio
Venue: The Arts Theatre
Season: 26th May – 3rd June
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Tickets: Adults: $33 / Concession: $28 / Child (under 15): $25
**Please note: surcharge applies to all online bookings**
Bookings: web: www.marieclark.asn.au
phone: 8251 3926
email: [email protected]