One man shows are intense for both the actor and audience. Throw in a complex storyline and a bewitching experience awaits!
Scottish writer Gary McNair has turned Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic novel Jekyll and Hyde into a very clever solo show.
Quoted as loving the challenge of getting under the surface of an old story with a famous plot twist, McNair has worked wonders in making it relevant for today’s theatregoers.
And the audience at The Lyceum in Edinburgh were transfixed by the 70 minute emotional roller-coaster, made even more magic by the excellent acting skills of Scots actor Forbes Masson. You have to be full of admiration for someone who can remember so many complicated lines!
Back at the beautiful city theatre for the first time in 20 years, Masson puts in a spine-chilling performance.
Directed by Michael Fentiman and performed on a near empty square stage with just a microphone, chair and spotlights on it, the simplistic look draws you into the dark tale.
Billed as a comic adaptation, the opening scene sees Masson slink quietly from the auditorium onto the stage and declare he is not the good guy.
Told like a detective story, Masson plays the narrator, Utterson – a lawyer and friend to Jekyll – as well as the other characters.
Dressed in shirt and braces, he begins his investigations into the connection between Jekyll and Hyde. Switching between characters with ease and confidence, Masson brings the different people to life well.
McNair has adapted the original story of good versus evil and split personalities, with aplomb and brought in questions around being good, friendship and guilt, rather than digging deep into Stevenson’s story.
Originally produced for Reading Rep Theatre, known for its bold and experimental work, it ticks all the boxes.
With suitably spooky lighting and sound, this over the hour thriller is dipping its toes into the original deep storyline and is strangely transfixing.
Jekyll and Hyde runs at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh until 27th January 2024. For ticket availability you can either call 0131 248 4848 or visit: www.lyceum.org.uk.
Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.
Photographs by Mihaela Bodlovic