Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydes is a tale of depravity, lust, love and horror

(10-02-2014)

Review by Linda Relyea

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It was with high expectations that I sat last night in the Adams State University Main Stage Theatre, preparing to watch the latest production, Dr. Jekylll and Mr. Hyde, directed by Dr. Paul Newman, professor of theatre and program coordinator.

The plot, a morally righteous, intelligent and educated man, whose laboratory experiments bring out his beastly, corrupt and base qualities, remains the same as the novella, written by Robert Louis Stevenson. However, the screenplay deviates enough to create compelling aspects that stimulate interest.

I appreciated the melodramatic movement, lighting, sound, and stage direction. Newman's choices fit well with the play and message. Suspenseful and theatrical, I was quickly engrossed in the story and the drama unfolding on stage.

The diction of the actors was easy to follow and enabled me to understand and catch all the subtle details. I thoroughly enjoyed being taken to another time and place as a tormented Jekyll tries to convince himself, and others, he has no relation to Hyde.

The theatrical staging of the killings and maiming did disturb me, a little, without being unnecessarily grotesque or horrific. The small cast did well in playing more than one roll. The use of understated mannerisms and costuming made all the characters easily identifiable.

John-Christian Maheu (Dr. Jekyll) performed the transition of Jekyll, from a gentle and empathetic gentleman to a self-preserving and amoral personality, with refinement and just enough emotion to raise the hair on the back of my neck. I always enjoy David Boncyk performances, he seems to become whatever character he plays effortlessly, and the roles he acts in this play are no exception. Erik Thurston's portrayal of Hyde is just creepy enough without becoming a caricature. Other supporting actors, including Clarissa McNamara, Alex Adams, and Shawnie Abbot, add to dimension to their roles and the eerie chain of events.

I really don't want to spoil the production, but there is one scene in particular when actors suddenly morph from one character into another that was nothing short of delightful. My expectations were met and, yes, exceeded. The classic story is told with style and the right amount of theatrical embellishments for this chilling tale of the fine line between good and evil and everyone's potential for both.

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" opens, on the Main Stage, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, and continues October 4, 10, and 11. There will be a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. October 12. Tickets can be reserved by calling the Theatre Box Office at 719-587-8499. The play is recommended for audience members 11-years and older.