Review by Jody Miller
Jekyll and Hyde The Musical. Conceived for the stage by Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn, Book and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, Music by Frank Wildhorm, Orchestrations by Kim Scharnberg, and Arrangements by Jason Howland.
The epic struggle between good and evil comes to life at Hayes Theatre, in the musical phenomenon, Jekyll & Hyde.
In this captivating new production, set in 1947 London, the Second World War is over, but the battle for our soul rages on inside St Jude’s Military Asylum. Directed by globally acclaimed performer, Hayden Tee, and featuring a spectacular cast of 14 – including 6 actor-musicians as the Board of Governors – Jekyll and Hyde takes the audience on an immersive adventure in Hayes intimate theatre.
Tear up your discharge papers and stay a while because the lunatics are taking over the asylum.
Based on the classic story by Robert Louis Stevenson and features a thrilling score of pop rock hits from multi-Grammy- and Tony-nominated Frank Wildhorn and double-Oscar and Grammy-winning Leslie Bricusse, Jekyll & Hyde has mesmerised the world over.
Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, the captivating story of a brilliant mind gone horrifically wrong, is based on the 1886 novella ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Set in a 1947 military mental hospital designed by Melanie Liertz, the design and tone of this new take on Jekyll and Hyde captivate us from the second we step into the theatre. The scene is set with a simple design of dilapidated hospital colours set with clinical lighting designed by Anthony Pearson.
The show begins with a sporadic entrance of actors as the audience takes their seats, unfolding the asylum and interacting with the actor-musicians on stage, which soon become an integral part of the piece. Director Hayden Tee expresses that “The decision to approach this show with actor-musicians was born from the idea that the Board of Governors set the rhythm, pitch and pace of society”, a notion which benefits this production, giving scenes new life and invites us all to embrace the minimalistic amount of musicians on stage which become a deep and intrinsic part of this story.
The cast includes a beautifully diverse range of Australian and New Zealand performers, with numerous performers making their Sydney debut.
Staring as Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde is critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Brendan Maclean who flawlessly makes his musical theatre debut! Maclean’s performance is one expected of a seasoned thespian, transitioning seamlessly between each character and approaching Mr Hyde with a facial grimace and menacing stance.
Utterson, traditionally a male role, is played by Madeline Jones, who captivates with her strong stage presence and whimsical demeanour. Director Hayden Tee says, “I wanted to focus the story of Utterson’s journey, reliving the final days of their best friend Henry Jekyll’s life and allowing the audience to witness the processing of that trauma”. A concept that Jones approaches impeccably.
The highlight of the show and crowd favourite was performer Brady Peeti who played Lucy Harris. Peeti presented outstanding vocals which melted through the audience like butter, and portrayed a distinctive and fierce version of the character who showed strength and certainty while revealing a vulnerable and exposed Lucy. Peeti was powerful and inspiring and had performed the role with sincerity, leaving the audience begging for more.
Along side the strong line of performers was experienced theatre performer Georgina Hopson playing Emma Carew. She was an outstanding performer, demanding the stage with each entrance and gifting us all with her powerhouse vocals which soared through the theatre.
An indelible ensemble consists of Melanie Bird, Mitchell Cox, Luke Leong-Tay, Rob McDougall, Sarah Murr, Gus Noakes, Billie Palin, Matthew Predny, Mitchell Roberts and Rutene Spooner, a solid mix of performers juggling multiple roles and moving fluently through the story, all contributing strong qualities to the diverse range of characters in the asylum.
Director Hayden Tee designed a remarkable minimalistic production that worked seamlessly in the intimate theatre space and concentrated on the main themes and storytelling elements of the production. Choreographer Siobhan Ginty creates within Tee’s vision, affixing small but powerful pockets of choreography to the show, while music supervisor Nigel Ubrihien and musical directors Chris King and Steven Kramer work exceptionally within this concept, pairing the original orchestration back and adapting to the scene using musicians doubled as actors.
Costumes by Mason Browne are simple yet significant to each performer through pale-coloured hospital wear with unique aspects to each individual, critical to the minimalistic approach of the story.
Jekyll and Hyde, the musical at the Hayes Theatre, is a sharp, powerful and compelling story with a phenomenal cast, created beautifully through a minimalist and intrinsic take on the original production. Don’t miss out on a piece of high-quality and entertaining theatre in the intimacy of the Hayes Theatre for a limited season.
This Australian professional premiere is now playing at the Hayes Theatre, running till the 27th of August, Tickets available at https://hayestheatre.com.au/event/jekyll-and-hyde/
Director: Hayden Tee
Musical Supervisor and Orchestrator: Nigel Ubrihien
Musical Director: Chris King, Steven Kramer
Assistant Director & Stage Manager: Daniel Cottier
Choreographer: Siobhan Ginty
Set Designer: Melanie Liertz
Costume Designer: Mason Browne
Lighting Designer: Anthony Pearson
Sound Designer: Paris Daniel
Assistant Stage Manager: Nathan Sandy
Executive Producers: Lisa Campbell and Richard Carroll
Cast: Melanie Bird, Mitchell Cox, Georgina Hopson, Madeleine Jones, Luke Leong-Tay, Brendan Maclean, Rob McDougall, Sarah Murr, Gus Noakes, Billie Palin, Brady Peeti, Matthew Predny, Mitchell Roberts, Rutene Spooner