REVIEW: Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, York Musical Theatre Company

Steven Jobson’s Edward Hyde and Nicola Holliday’s Lucy Harris

York Musical Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, York Musical Theatre Company, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, 7.30pm tonight; 2.30pm and 7.30pm tomorrow. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

ON the only previous time CharlesHutchPress encountered Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn’s Broadway musical, at Leeds Grand Theatre in July 2011, this was his verdict.

“In a nutshell, it is a very good performance of a not particularly good musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella that has but one memorable song, This Is The Moment,” he wrote, before concluding: “A deliciously wicked way to spend tonight or tomorrow awaits you”.

Eleven years on, This Is The Moment continues to stand out, but once more, Jekyll & Hyde The Musical’s story of love, betrayal and murder hits the mark in performance, this time under the gothic-inspired direction of Matthew Clare.

The aforementioned 2011 touring production relied on the handsome pop star chops of Marti Pellow in the dual role of upstanding, if obsessive Dr Henry Jekyll and his vengeful, sadistic, chemically altered alter ego, Mr Edward Hyde.  

Director Matthew Clare

Clare goes with freelance actor, singer and voice actor Steven Jobson, whose love of performing was triggered by witnessing The Phantom Of The Opera at the age of 14, another show that ventures deep into the dark side.

Jobson can certainly act; he sings Jekyll & Hyde’s difficult, impassioned, narrative-driven songs adroitly too, and you can hear why he is a voice actor as he switches between the urbane, educated, tenor airs of the romantic scientist Jekyll and the guttural bass growl of Hyde, ably retaining the distinction in song.

In one early moment, his agitated singing voice for Hyde becomes muffled in the sound mix, but let’s put that down to this being the first night.

Jobson is equally convincing in his physical transformations, never straying into Hammer Horror melodrama. His monstrous madman always lurks within, those inner demons brought to the surface by reckless scientific brio as much as by his experiments.

Alexandra Mather vowed to make Jekyll’s trusting, unknowing fiancée, Emma Carew, more three-dimensional than on the page, and she delivers on that promise in her characterisation, while her pure, operatic voice wholly suits the score.

Nick Sephton’s Sir Danvers Carew

Director Clare has decided to split role of love-struck but fearful prostitute Lucy Harris between York musical theatre regular and radio presenter Claire Pulpher (next performance, Saturday matinee) and Scarborough professional Nicola Holliday in her YMTC debut. Holliday was on duty on Wednesday, growing into her performance the more she sang, conveying both Lucy’s untrusting, self-protective nature and quest for love.

Strong support comes from Anthon Gardner’s lawyer John Utterson and Nick Sephton’s Sir Danvers Carew, and the ensemble relishes Bring On The Men, choreographed sassily by Hannah Wakelam.

John Atkin’s band is in good order throughout, steering the path between big balladry in the Lloyd Webber mode and a sly wickedness more in keeping with Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.

Costumes and wigs serve the primary role in evoking the Victorian era; the plain set design, by comparison, is a modern construction of metal stairways and a mezzanine level, more in keeping with a pop concert, but the use of blue lighting to denote Jekyll and red for Hyde is effective.  Everyone stands, no-one sits, such is the restless, unrelenting, unnerving progression from Jekyll to hellish Hyde.

Director Clare had called Jekyll & Hyde a “niche musical”, but he has successfully brought it out of the shadows, and in Steven Jobson he has found just the man for the job.

Review by Charles Hutchinson

Rehearsals start for York Musical Theatre Company’s May show Jekyll & Hyde The Musical. Who’s in Matthew Clare’s cast?

York Musical Theatre Company’s artwork for Jekyll & Hyde The Musical

REHEARSALS are underway for York Musical Theatre Company’s May staging of Jekyll & Hyde The Musical.

“The production team were blown away by the high standard of talent that attended the two days of auditions in January, resulting in a very tough task in the casting of roles,” says company stalwart Mick Liversidge. “In fact, deliberation went on to the early hours of the morning after the final auditionee had left on the second day.

“YMTC feel that the resulting cast will deliver a fantastic show, worthy of marking the company’s 120th year. Rehearsals began on Monday and the cast couldn’t wait to get stuck into the sumptuous music of this fabulous show.”

Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story, the epic struggle between good and evil comes to life on stage to the thrilling pop-rock score of Grammy and Tony Award-nominated Frank Wildhorn and double Oscar and Grammy-winning Leslie Bricusse.

An evocative tale of two men – one, a doctor, passionate and romantic; the other, a terrifying madman – and two women – one, beautiful and trusting; the other, beautiful and trusting only herself – finds both women in love with the same man and both unaware of his dark secret.

A devoted man of science, Dr Henry Jekyll is driven to find a chemical breakthrough that can solve the most challenging of medical dilemmas. Rebuffed by the powers-that-be, he decides to make himself the subject of his own experimental treatments, accidentally unleashing his inner demons, along with the man that the world would come to know as Mr Hyde.

York Musical Theatre Company invite audiences to “be immersed in the myth and mystery of 19th century London’s fog-bound streets, where love, betrayal and murder lurk at every chilling turn and twist” in the May 25 to 28 run at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.

Tickets are on sale on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk. For the Early Bird discount of £2 off each ticket, use the promo code JEKYLL22HYDE when booking online.

Jekyll & Hyde cast:

Dr Henry Jekyll/Mr Edward Hyde: Steven Jobson
Emma Carew:  Alexandra Mather
Lucy Harris:  Nicola Holliday & Claire Pulpher (shared role)
John Utterson:  Anthony Gardner
Sir Danvers Carew:  Nick Sephton
Simon Stride:  Matthew Ainsworth
Lady Beaconsfield:  Helen Spencer
Lady Savage: Elizabeth Vile
Archibald Proops:  Ryan Stocks
General Glossop: Rob Davies
Bishop of Basingstoke: Ryan Richardson
Spider: Ben Caswell
Nellie: Erin Keogh

Ensemble: Eleanor Anson; Faye Addy; Danar Cantrill; Ellie Carrier; Sophie Cunningham; Bethany Edwards; Rebecca Ellis; Tess Ellis; Emily Hardy; Cameron O’Dent; Frankie Nicholls; Suzanne Perkins; Victoria Rimmington; Paula Stainton; Hannah Wakelam.


Director: Matthew Clare; musical director, John Atkin; production manager, Peter Jamieson;
wardrobe, Kathryn Addison.


York Musical Theatre Company seeks new recruits for May’s Jekyll & Hyde The Musical as part of 120th anniversary celebrations

York Musical Theatre Company’s poster for next May’s production of Jekyll & Hyde The Musical

YORK Musical Theatre Company is seeking to attract new members to take part in next year’s exciting shows to marks its 120th anniversary.

First up will be Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, directed by Matthew Clare, with musical direction by John Atkin, at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, from May 25 to 28.

An introductory evening will be held on Thursday, January 6 at 7.30pm at Poppleton Methodist Church Hall. “This will be a chance for anyone interested in being involved with the show to meet the production team and chat about auditions, rehearsals, the characters, the plot and the music,” says new committee member Mick Liversidge.

“There’ll be auditions for all character and ensemble roles on Saturday, January 15, from 11am to 3pm, and Tuesday, January 18, from 7.3pm to 9.30pm, again at Poppleton.”

Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s thriller The Strange Case Of Jekyll And Hyde, the musical sets the gripping tale of a brilliant mind gone horrifically awry to a powerful pop-rock score by Frank Wildhorn, with book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse.

“Jekyll & Hyde The Musical should be a truly memorable show to celebrate York Musical Theatre Company’s 120th year,” says committee member and actor Mick Liversidge

In attempting to cure his ailing father’s mental illness by separating “good” from “evil” in the human personality, talented physician Dr Jekyll inadvertently creates an alternate personality of pure evil, dubbed Mr Hyde, who wreaks murderous havoc on the city of London.

As his fiancée, Emma, grows increasingly fearful for her betrothed, a prostitute, Lucy, finds herself involved dangerously with both the doctor and his alter ego. Struggling to control Hyde before he takes over for good, Jekyll must race to find a cure for the demon he has created in his own mind.

“The music for this show is sumptuous, with some fabulous moving numbers for the lead characters to perform, backing up a truly bittersweet story of love, passion, sex and murder, mixed with both the physical and mental struggles of Dr Jekyll to vindicate his medical theories,” says Mick.

To register for an audition, send an email to: auditions@yorkmusicaltheatrecompany.org.uk.
“The auditions are open to anyone who wishes to be involved in what should be a truly memorable show to celebrate York Musical Theatre Company’s 120th year,” says Mick.