Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Theatre first night reviews

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WATCHING The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde is like being on a speeding train which is only just under control — exhilarating, thrilling and satisfying.

Be warned, if you’re going to see this latest show at the Watermill, strap yourself in, it’s a hell of a ride.

The story, from the Robert Louis Stevenson novella, is an adaptation for small stage with just three young energetic actors powering through Jekyll’s transition from ordinary doctor to monster.

But words scarcely do this show justice. It has all the originality and experiment of a fringe show and that is where the cast, the Rhum and Clay Theatre Company, learned their craft and were spotted by the Watermill’s outreach director, Beth Flintoff.

They combined forces to produce this tornado of a theatrical experience. It’s adapted by the team with some Watermill stardust sprinkled on it. It uses irony, humour and a certain knowingness, but more than anything else a physicality which can only be achieved by the young. Anyone much over 30 could not perform this fast-paced show which employs acrobatics, fights and scene changes so quick you marvel at the concentration.

Not once, in all the action, do the actors lose character or does the narrative flag. Not once do they damage themselves or the tiny but intricate set despite some violent moves.

This is the Watermill’s touring show this summer. It will spend a week at the theatre in Bagnor before going to a variety of village halls and studio spaces around the south of England.

Those village halls will never have seen the like and frankly, the audiences don’t know how lucky they are.

Visit www.rhumandclay.com for details.

The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, near Newbury

Wednesday, May 22

Mike Rowbottom

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