We were once again, very fortunate to be able to attend the press night at the Royal Lyceum Theatre here in Edinburgh, for their latest performance – Jekyll and Hyde. I confess that it’s been a while since I read the book, but I still thought that this was a story I knew. However, Forbes Masson’s performance left me in no doubt, that there was still an awful lot to consider about the story…

Mason’s one-person performance of Jekyll and Hyde was immense: his portrayal of the characters in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, which delves into the allure of life’s darker aspects, was nothing short of phenomenal. This impression is only amplified by Gary McNair’s masterful retelling of the narrative.

The stage, despite its simplicity, was effectively used. The ingenious utilization of lighting and props, combined with Masson’s seamless character transitions, created a vivid depiction of the story. This simplicity didn’t compromise the overall production but rather, enhances it.

Image by Mihaela Bodlovic.

From the moment Utterson, a character who is neither the hero nor the villain in this tale, makes his introductory speech, the audience was spellbound. The story unfolds at an exhilarating pace, maintaining suspense and intrigue. This is despite the fact that the audience, acknowledged by Utterson, is fully aware of the direction the narrative is taking.

The story commences with the mystery behind a “grotesque door”, but it concludes with an introspective note. It leaves you contemplating the hidden aspects of those you interact with daily – your friends, acquaintances, and even… yourself. The story’s conclusion thus provokes a profound contemplation of human nature.

The play has a running time of 75 minutes (with no interval) so Kate and I arrived in time for meet up in The Howard Bar to discuss our expectations first. I’m not sure either of us got our predictions right! If you’re looking for something that’s light or amusing – then I wouldn’t say that this is for you – but if you’re looking to be provoked and if you’re looking for rememberable theatre, then get your ticket here.

For those of you NOT in Edinburgh – then good news – as the production is also going on a Lyceum produced tour!

Perth Theatre

Wed 31 Jan – Sat 3 Feb

Dundee Rep 

Wed 7 Feb – Sat 10 February

Macrobert Arts Centre 

Thur 15 Feb – Sat 17 Feb

In conclusion, this rendition of Jekyll and Hyde is a remarkable piece of theatre, one that I would not hesitate to recommend. It’s a captivating experience that combines excellent performance, intelligent storytelling, and an effective set design, all while maintaining its simplicity and straightforwardness. Please note: this production features strobe effects and flashing lights.

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