Theatre – Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, King’s Theatre
Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson |Adapted by David Edgar – Starring Phil Daniels | 10 – 14 April 2018 at The King’s Theatre
Everyone knows that it is pronounced Jeekyll as with steeple. Though perhaps fewer are aware that Stevenson’s inspiration for this macabre study of ‘giving in to the Dark Side’ draws on the Edinburgh set complex psychological novel by James Hogg, The Private Memories and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.
Also know as the Ettrick Shepherd, from near Moffat, he became the self-taught doyen of the Edinburgh literati and did some rhyme battles with Sir Walter Scott. Word play on the titular characters can reveal Joy-kill/jackal. Of course Mr Hyde does ‘hide’ behind the manipulated Doctor’s diminishing self-identity, the ‘hide’ as animal skin that the beast uses as his charade. In Scots ‘jeck’ can mean to abandon as well fit in smoothly. So shocked was RLS’s wife by the original draught, when he was supposed to be recuperating from TB and complications, she insisted it was burnt immediately. Just as well Shakespeare didn’t leave The Tempest proofs lying around.
Phil Daniels will lead the company in the titular roles of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Gothic thriller, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, at the King’s Theatre Edinburgh in this new production, adapted by David Edgar and directed by Kate Saxon.
‘I’m playing Jekyll as a posh Edinburgh doctor and Hyde as a Glaswegian. I’m burying myself in all that, getting deep into characters. You have to put the work in. Although I don’t get deep enough to go around murdering people, of course.’ In a secret experiment, the upright and respectable Dr Henry Jekyll splits his personality into two, releasing the fiendish and murderous Edward Hyde.
As Hyde brings about mayhem, terror and death in foggy London, can Jekyll find a way to suppress his monstrous alter-ego, before it takes him over for good?
A Touring Consortium Theatre Company and Rose Theatre Kingston presentation.