Review: Jekyll and Hyde at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre

Robert Laughlin as Dr Jekyll in Jekyll and Hyde at Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre
Robert Laughlin as Dr Jekyll in Jekyll and Hyde at Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre

A crazed killer stalking the streets, blood-curdling screams and a creepy face at the window - prepare for the fright of your life in a dramatic launch to the new season at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre.

Jekyll and Hyde is atmospheric Gothic melodrama enhanced by doom-laden music and dry ice swirling above the dimly lit stage.

Haunted faces tell the tale of horror personified as much as words and gestures do in this riveting production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story, adapted for the stage by Nicholas Briggs.

Robert Laughlin is cast as Dr Jekyll whose experiment to separate the good and evil in man leads to disastrous consequences. The tortured doctor becomes more unhinged as the play progresses and in a particularly impressive scene lies on the floor convulsing as the drug takes hold.

Andrew Fettes plays cloaked killer Hyde, the evil outcome of the doctor’s experiment who trawls the streets for his victims, spies on his prey from an upstairs window and exits the stage with a manic laugh like a pantomime villain.

Clever lighting ensures that the audience never sees the switch between characters so the big reveals are always a shock.

Much of the play involves the hunt for the killer. David Gilbrook is impressive in his role as police inspector, resembling a persistent Jack Russell nipping at the ankles of Jekyll’s lawyer in an attempt to break the vow of client confidentiality.

Andrew Ryan gives a consistently good performance as the lawyer, his poise and expressions changing from assured to cautious to intimidated as the officer’s questioning becomes increasingly threatening.

Jekyll and Hyde is presented by TABS Productions at the Pomegranate until Saturday, September 5.