Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde
Adapted by Kip Williams from the novella Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson . Directed by Kip Williams. Designed by Marg Howell. Lighting designer Nick Schlieper. Composer Clemence Williams.Sound designer Michael Toisuta. Video designer David Bergman. Associate directror Ian Michael. Assistant video director Sarah Hadley. Video Editor Susie Henderson. Fight director Nigel Poulton. Voice and text coach Charmian Gradwell. The Roslyn Packer Theatre. Sydney Theatre Company. August 10 – September 3 2022
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
The promotional slogan for Sydney Theatre Company’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde offers a certain indication of Kip Williams’s adaptation and staging of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 Gothic melodrama. “From the creators of The Picture of Dorian Gray”. Anybody fortunate enough to have seen Williams’s startlingly innovative and brilliantly imaginative adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey as a cine-theatrical masterpiece starring Erin Jean Norvill will know what to expect from the amazing creators of that groundbreaking STC production.
However, one would be mistaken to expect the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde to be a sequel or imitation of Kip Williams’s previous triumph. After all Williams has been exploring, experimenting and including digital technology for some time now. One only has to cast one’s mind back to recent productions of The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, or Julius Caesar to realize that the fusion of digital technology and live theatre offers a fresh and exciting approach to interpreting a playwright’s intent and a director’s vision.
|Ewen Leslie and Matthew Backer in Strange Case of Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde|
On stage throughout the telling of this absorbing tale the camera operators advance and follow the actors, merging imagery and zooming in to capture the intensity of the performance. Other stage hands move the essential setting into position – the street lamps, the door to Dr. Jekyll’s house, the laboratory, the stairway to his secret room and other locations. What evolves is a modern day magic lantern show, highly sophisticated through today’s technology and yet with the same power to arouse the curiosity and enthrall an audience. The one hour fifty minutes with no interval was over in a seeming flash. Williams and his creative team perform their magic with seamless artistry.
|Ewen Leslie as Dr. Htde in STrange Case of Jekyll and Hyde|
Stevenson’s moral assumes a sinister warning in the Sydney Theatre Company production of a prophetic Gothic depiction of man’s accursed duality. In Williams’s adaptation and under hid inspired direction the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr.Hyde is a riveting and revealing insight into the conflicting nature of the human psyche performed superbly by Leslie and Backer and supported by an ingenious team of collaborative creatives. This is must see theatre. Catch it if you can and must before the season ends on September 3rd. Director Kip Williams and his company of artists have done it again!
Photos by Daniel Boud