Major rewrites strengthen production of 'Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde'
"What a pity that a show called Jekyll & Hyde has already found a berth on Broadway, because the alternative version that opened Monday night at the Starlight Theatre could find a wide audience if given half the chance.
Starlight is billing the show a 'world premiere' by virtue of the major rewrites that have taken place since its previous two productions, and the results are impressive. Composer Phil Hall has come up with some haunting melodies and the book and lyrics by David Levy and Leslie Eberhard give the classic tale by Robert Louis Stevenson an appropriately serious spin.
This is a tale of sexual repression, inner demons and social stratification in a 19th century London beset by fog, violence and a vast gulf between the rich and poor.
Dr. Jekyll, played with depth and complexity by the charismatic Richard White, is an idealist appalled by the squalor and amoral conditions of the London poor. His compassionate views are branded heresy by the pious bourgeoisie, but his idealism attracts the beautiful Amanda.
His lab experiments, of course, tap into the dark side of his personality, and as Mr. Hyde, he travels through the London underworld and strikes up a sexually charged but abusive relationship with Lily, a dance-hall singer.
Marc Kudisch is a handsome Hyde, as opposed to the gargoyle usually depicted in film versions of the story, but his handsomeness simply emphasizes the character's capacity for evil. It's a strong performance in a one-note role.
Glory Crampton is a beautiful, if somewhat remote, Amanda, while Paige Price sometimes threatens to steal the show as Lily, the bawdy cockney dance-hall star.
Much of the music is first-rate. A personal favorite was 'Love Treats Us All the Same,' a duet between Amanda and Lily, although White and Kudisch get their chance to indulge in crowd-pleasing vocal pyrotechnics in the second act.
Director Philip McKinley moves things along at a brisk, melodramatic pace. This is an agreeable dark, sometimes quirky take on a familiar story which finds a way to make it all seem fresh again."
"Starlight's Production of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde offers a haunting and operatic score with lyrics by Leslie Eberhard and David Levy and music by Phil Hall. The show and the story are given an excellent 'twist' with the two title roles being played by two actors, rather than one. The concept allows for some stunningly effective scenes between the two warring sides of Jekyll's personality that could never have been achieved with one actor"