Evaluation: Vertigo's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde a story of private good vs evil

Article content material

Martin Luther King Jr. noticed that “in every of us, two natures are at conflict – the great and the evil. All our lives the combat goes on between them, and one in all them should conquer.”

This battle is what Robert Louis Stevenson explored 150 years in the past in his gothic novel The Unusual Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and what British playwright Nick Lane makes abundantly clear in his riveting adaptation of this iconic horror story enjoying at Vertigo Theatre till Oct. 29.

Commercial 2

Article content material

Article content material

Henry Jekyll was an excellent, conflicted Victorian neurologist who invented a serum that remodeled him from a frail, nearly crippled man, into the colourful, amoral alter ego who known as himself Edward Hyde. Jekyll was conscious of Hyde’s violent nature however was seduced by the bodily prowess he gained by taking the serum.

Vertigo Theatre
Joe Perry in Vertigo Theatre’s The Unusual Case of Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde. Photograph, Fifth Wall Media Photograph by Tim Nguyen Co. /Tim Nguyen Co.

When Lane was a younger, aspiring actor in London 20 years in the past, a automobile accident so severely injured his again and neck he had to surrender his promising profession, together with a lot of his mobility. It’s apparent Lane has woven his personal expertise and his longings into his adaptation, which helps clarify why his Jekyll, and even his Hyde, are much more sympathetic than is commonly the case.

In a very masterful twin efficiency, Joe Perry exhibits how painful this transformation is for each Jekyll and Hyde. We see Perry’s physique writhe because it straightens or shrivels, however much more importantly, we see how painful it’s for Jekyll and Hyde to have the opposite particular person scream of their heads, eager to take over.

In his adaptation, Lane consists of Hasting Lanyon (Daniel Fong), Jekyll’s fellow tutorial and longtime good friend, plus Gabriel Utterson (Grant Tilly), the lawyer whom Jekyll and Hyde entrusted with their papers, directives and wills. As with the novel, Utterson is the narrator of the story.

Article content material

Commercial 3

Article content material

For his adaptation, Lane has added the character of Eleanor (Allison Lynch), an Irish dancehall singer who entraps Lanyon’s coronary heart solely to turn into his chicken in a gilded cage, so, understandably, she needs to be drawn first to the good, intellectually unconventional Dr. Jekyll, and finally the sexually vibrant Hyde. Lynch exhibits there may be as a lot battle in Eleanor’s choices as there may be in Jekyll’s, making Lane’s adaptation actually about what Martin Luther King noticed because the battle that may torment every of us.

Fong additionally performs an outdated feminine servant of Jekyll and an alcoholic policeman investigating the crimes of Hyde, each for comedian aid, which will get the meant laughs however drastically modifications the tone and elegance of the present. Tilly grounds the play in an eerie actuality.

Vertigo Theatre
Allison Lynch, Joe Perry, and Daniel Fong in Vertigo Theatre’s The Unusual Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Photograph by Fifth Wall Media Photograph by Tim Nguyen Co. /Tim Nguyen Co.

As dedicated as all of the performances are, it’s tough to turn into concerned within the lives of those individuals, as a result of Lane has the characters break the stream of the scenes to inform the viewers how they really feel, and what they assume, as if they’re all of the sudden studying traces from the novel. This can be a manufacturing you find yourself appreciating excess of having fun with.

Commercial 4

Article content material

Javier Vilalta’s meticulous path and powerful imaginative and prescient make Jekyll and Hyde an arresting visible expertise that’s extremely theatrical. He makes use of music, mime and choreography to underscore the feelings of his actors. Significantly spectacular is his dealing with of Hyde’s passionate seduction of Eleanor, and Hyde’s vicious beating of an aged man.

All the pieces is performed out on Lauren Acheson’s stark set that has all of the play’s set items, costumes and props pushed towards the partitions, and solely introduced out when they’re wanted, reminding us we’re watching a play, not experiencing these occasions with the characters.

Kudos to Vertigo’s inventive director Jack Grinhaus for locating this adaptation and giving it a most worthy North American premiere, as soon as once more showcasing Calgary’s enviable skills in each side of theatrical manufacturing.

Article content material


Postmedia is dedicated to sustaining a energetic however civil discussion board for dialogue and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Feedback might take as much as an hour for moderation earlier than showing on the positioning. We ask you to maintain your feedback related and respectful. We have now enabled electronic mail notifications—you’ll now obtain an electronic mail if you happen to obtain a reply to your remark, there may be an replace to a remark thread you comply with or if a person you comply with feedback. Go to our Neighborhood Tips for extra info and particulars on modify your electronic mail settings.

Commercial 1