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Image credit: Kevin Ruehle

Review by Amanda Lancaster

The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde – classic Gothic literary tale penned by Robert Louis Stevenson. Few have equaled, much less, enhanced the classic text in their interpretations and even less have fully comprehended or surmised the true multifaceted realities that lie beneath its nightmarish aesthetic. A tale well known to so very many… yet a tale known well to only a few. This is so very much more than good versus evil, or man versus monster –
David Davies is one of these rare individuals that percieves the pure, intrinsic nature of the piece.

HYDE – the final statement of Dr Jekyll is a beautifully written and performed interpretation. This show is all the things the nightmarish narrative should be. The venue’s long narrow space, high ceilings and deep colouring is almost akin to the Victorian feel of the tale, and compliments it nicely. Antique-style chairs in short pews make the audience seem as if they are the terrified huddled masses of Victorian London, again lending to the show’s atmosphere before we even begin. Add in the shadowy silhouettes that emerge as the lights go down and Dr Jekyll has the audience exactly where he wants them.

Minimalist in staging and aesthetics, Davies is a consummate professional, creating a variety of vividly conjured scenes and characters aplenty with merely a subtle nuance, or seamless shift in vocal tone.  Ready to hand symbols of the portrayed Victorian era are used sparingly, yet you find yourself focusing on each small gesture or motion intently.  Adept at his craft the one man show is seamless and flows naturally for the audience to follow along.

Shrewd in his selection of thematic elements, Davies emphasises the profound psychological implications that come with base human nature and tendencies.  Clever in its execution, you find the linguistics applicable to a myriad of behavioral discourses and the impulses that spur them, after all Jekyll’s potion wasn’t just about the separation of good and evil – it was justification for wanting to live free of repercussion and repression.  Davies completely embodies this whole emotional incomprehensible divided countenance. He’s an absolute delight to listen to as the mesmerising madman deep in the throws of his compulsions.

Compulsion and obsession are the catalysts to Jekyll’s downfall. So intent on his wonderings into whether or not the conflicting characteristic of man could be separated , he never stopped to wonder if he should separate them. Obviously this will be a performance that resonates the strongest with those who are more familiar with the text, however as a stand alone introduction to Gothic literature and a deliciously good thrill, this show won’t disappoint.

 

When: 13th – 19th February 2017 | 6:30pm & 5:00pm

Where: Four5Nine Bar | North Side | PERTH

Tickets: $26

Info: Duration 55 minutes | Recommended 18+

Link: https://www.fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/event/hyde__the_final_statement_of_dr_jekyll/be9e2c11-880d-4d1c-8f53-a1021d28e195/