By Nicole J. Simms
On 11th November 2016, some of the Oldbury Writing Group members went to see the Nick Lane’s adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at the Oldbury REP theatre.
For those of you who don’t know, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story is about a scientist called Dr Henry Jekyll who creates a formula to unleash his inner beast, whom he calls Edward Hyde. All seems well until the body count rises.
Out of all the plays due out this year at the Oldbury REP, I was most looking forward to seeing The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Being a horror writer and keen to get into playwriting, I wanted to see how a spooky story could be produced on stage. Well, I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed and I learned a lot, for example, you don’t need a separate narrator; you can use the actors instead.
The performance was excellent. I found myself easily absorbed into the world which played out on the stage. The actors should be praised for remembering all of their lines, and for their impressive singing abilities (they sang one song – it wasn’t a musical). During this play, each actor took on the role of narrator to tell his or her side of the story and to help smoothly move the play along – this, I felt, worked well.
Even though the play was creepy and haunting, there was still humour added throughout, which I felt added an extra special touch. I do love how Oldbury REP adds humour to their plays.
There were times during the play where both Hyde and Jekyll were on the stage. This allowed the audience to see the internal conflict that was going on inside Jekyll’s head. It also added to the suspense when you saw Hyde hiding in the shadows – it made you wonder when it would be Hyde’s turn to come out and cause havoc.
The story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde does make you think about the two sides of your own personality. We all have an internal battle between what we would claim to be our good side and our bad side, each side often fighting to gain control. But would it be wise to separate the two? I, unlike Dr Jekyll, don’t think it is a good idea to split our personalities. It’s our two sides that keep us balanced. And I know for sure that it wouldn’t be a good idea to unleash my Hyde.
Overall, Oldbury REP did a brilliant job with this production. You always get your money’s worth, and so far, I’ve never left the theatre feeling disappointed. I can’t wait to see the next play.