Saturday, 27 May 2017

Theatre Review: Jekyll & Hyde (Musical)

Jekyll & Hyde
26 May 2017
Marie Clark Musical Theatre
Arts Theatre, Adelaide

Last night I saw the opening performance of Marie Clark Musical Theatre's production of the musical Jekyll and Hyde.

From the outset, I should note that this is an amateur production, and that fact should be taken into account when reading my comments.

The show got off to a somewhat shaky start with David MacGillivray's rendition of I Need to Know. Mistiming his entry appeared to throw him, and led to some lyric confusion and pitching issues. However, as the first act progressed, he regained his confidence, particularly once he'd completed the initial transformation into his Hyde persona. At first, he sounded like Gollum as Hyde, but he quickly toned back on that. He really came into his own in the second act, giving an excellent performance, most notably in the Confrontation scene. As a side note, this is the first production of this show that I've come across that didn't use long hair up vs. long hair down to distinguish between Jekyll and Hyde; MacGillivray relied on vocals and physicality to swap between the two during the song.

Moving on to the female leads, both Ashley Muldrew and Sarah Wildy offered strong performances in the respective roles of Emma and Lucy. The standout vocals of the night came from Ashley Muldrew, who is clearly the best-trained singer in the company. Sarah Wildy has an excellent belt, but one thing let down her portrayal of Lucy for me: her accent. She would have done better not to attempt one as it detracted from her otherwise good performance, coming and going from one song to the next. Initially, I had assumed she intended a lower class London accent but had ended up somewhere closer to Liverpool; however, a comment on this post has informed me, Mancunian was intended all along.

The supporting cast did a good job, though the women's vocals were generally stronger and more on pitch than the men's. The scene transitions were a tad noisy at times but otherwise fluid and well handled. The set looked good, as did the costumes, and the orchestra performed admirably.

Overall, this was an enjoyable performance of one of my favourite musicals. Not as polished as a professional production, naturally, but an extremely good amateur effort. Plus, this was the first night and, given the definite improvement in all the cast as the show progressed, I imagine the remaining performances will be even smoother, now that first-night nerves are out of the way.

For anyone in Adelaide wishing to see it, the show runs at the Arts Theatre on Angas Street until 3 June. Visit the Marie Clark website for more information.

NB: I have made a slight edit to the end of the fourth paragraph of this review to make my meaning clearer, in response to a comment on the post.


  1. Lucy was actually doing a Manchester accent and someone who was there on Friday who is a Mancunian said it was perfect. There is nothing to say that Lucy has to have a Cockney accent. Jekyll doesn't have to have long hair. It says in the program that they tried to be as historically accurate as possible. Guys didn't have long hair in the 1880s. Theatre companies try not to copy professional productions as that would be boring as hell!

  2. Thank you for your comment and the clarification on Lucy’s accent. If it was Mancunian, I am happy to bow to the expertise of those more familiar with Northern accents (being a Kentish girl myself). I had assumed she was aiming for lower class London and had ended up somewhere else by mistake, but if Mancunian was intended all along, I see no issue with that. As you say, nothing states that she *must* be Cockney, and the back-story of a Manchester lass heading to London to look for work but ending up a prostitute fits well. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that her accent was audible in one song and not in the next. Why choose to do *any* accent if you can’t sustain it throughout? That was the main issue I had, not the choice of accent; however, glancing back over my review, I see my phrasing doesn’t necessarily read that way and I will make a slight amendment to my statement for clarity on that point.
    I am a history buff myself and agree that shorter hair is more appropriate for the period. I merely referenced the fact that all other productions I’ve come across *have* employed long hair, and I did so in order to give additional praise to the actor. Others have relied on long hair to switch between characters; Mr MacGillivray didn’t. It was a commendation. At no point did I say that it was ‘wrong’ that he didn’t have long hair.
    I would point out that this is a review, and a review is a personal opinion. For me, Lucy’s accent didn’t work. If someone else liked it, that’s their opinion, and they are as entitled to it as I am to mine. Overall, I gave the performance a positive review, and I linked to the company website to encourage others living locally to see it. (If I hadn’t thought it a good production, I wouldn’t have done that.)