Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Theatre / “Jekyll & Hyde”, at Bicentennial Hall, Queanbeyan, until Sunday, May 23. Reviewed by PHILLIP MACKENZIE.

 THE “Jekyll & Hyde” experience, as delivered to an audience of willing victims, is one not to be missed – except by the faint-hearted.

For people who go to the theatre in order to sit, watch and be gently entertained, don’t go near the stunningly refurbished and flexible Bicentennial Hall in the next few days.

Any attempt to review this show in standard critical terms would be as foolish as the product under review. Any attempt to describe the plot would be futile; to identify and analyse character  and acting talent would kill them stone dead. The critic's only recourse it is to forsake the pen and key-board for the impressionist artist's paint brush and palette.

The New Zealand company, A Slightly Isolated Dog, has been responsible for captivating audiences around the country, most recently with their interpretation of “Don Juan”, which I regrettably missed. But one can be fairly confident that its entertainment value was up to the standard with “Jekyll & Hyde”, directed by Leo Gene Peters.

Even if one can never quite remember who was Jekyll and who, Hyde — i.e., who was the goody and who, the other in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel.

But who actually cares when this group of hyper-active pseudo-French persons gets stuck into it?

The gang of five has this style of interactive theatre down to a “T”, beginning with mingling with the audience in the foyer before and after the 80-minute show, then connecting with particular members in the facing banks of traverse seating between which they carry on their madcap but highly disciplined, performance.

Not one opportunity to engage spontaneously with individual members of the audience, whether primed or not (who cares?) could threaten the accuracy of their practised cues. And their technical cues, drumbeats, bombs, gunshots, blackouts, were a treat to behold.

This production, which continues until Sunday, was a thoroughly entertaining 80 minutes, with a judicious soupçon of naughty, risqué Française that almost defies serious criticism – thank heavens.

Is this a descendant of the Goon Show, or Monty Python? Whatever, it is a thoroughly entertaining 80 minutes, with  a judicious soupçon of naughty, risqué Française that defies serious criticism, as does a painting of Monet's lilies. Thank heavens.

An edited version of this review first appeared at