Exquisite singing, gorgeous costumes and atmospheric lighting all made for a very impressive performance by the cast and crew of Music Theatre’s Jekyll and Hyde. Even upon entering the Riley Smith Hall, we were met by intimidating figures dressed in doctor’s coats and surgical masks, creating a chilling and atmospheric opening. What followed was a well-executed and entertaining production that displayed some excellent talent.
Loosely based on the original story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, this musical introduces the added dimension of a love triangle between Jekyll, his fiancée Emma and Lucy, a down on her luck prostitute. All three are portrayed brilliantly by Sam McCagherty, Becca Muress and Genevieve Brown respectively. McCagherty’s performance is particularly strong but it is his transformation from Jekyll to Hyde in which he comes into his own. His voice and physicality switch quickly and portray the perfectly the evil of this character.
However, perhaps the most engaging parts of the production were those that involved the entire cast; all the ensemble pieces were fantastic to watch. The movements were sharp, quick and perfectly timed, with not a foot about of place. Their voices harmonised together wonderfully and the expressions on their faces didn’t falter. In fact, every actor was perfectly cast, creating a strong ensemble that gave their all to this production.
Added to this were the well thought out technical and musical aspects of the piece. A very simple set design combined with clever choices of lighting made for a very atmospheric stage. The live orchestra, led by musical director Daniel Antonio, were superb, the chilling sounds of the score aiding the chilling nature of the musical.
At times, it felt more emphasis was put on the quality of singing than acting; while the songs were beautifully performed, there didn’t seem to be an expression of emotion from the characters. However, what was most frustrating were some technical difficulties. A couple of microphones and dodgy speakers unfortunately distorted some sections of music, meaning that some singers could not be heard.
Music Theatre Society have once again produced a brilliant piece of theatre that was a joy to watch. In its final climatic moment, its music and emotional power may have even brought a little tear to my eye and that is musical theatre at its best.