Jekyll & Hyde
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by J. Potter

Weíre all familiar with Robert Louis Stevensonís classic novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There have been several film and theatrical versions of this story about manís duality Ė his constant struggle between good and evil. But perhaps the most interesting version is Jekyll & Hyde the musical, because it adds the dimension of sound and the unique emotions that sound evokes.

The music, written by Frank Wildhorn with stage writing and lyrics by Leslie Bricussi, evokes the haunting duality that Dr. Jekyll faces when he tries to change the world for the better by eliminating evil. Beware of anyone trying to upset the balance between good and evil, particularly someone trying to eliminate evil, because all hell is bound to break loose. Indeed, this is the main theme of Jekyll & Hyde, but the music strives to maintain the balance that Dr. Jekyllís good intensions have upset. Musical numbers like Pursue the Truth and Once Upon a Dream are balanced by Murder Murder and Itís a Dangerous Game. And many of the songs like In His Eyes and Lost in the Darkness are a melancholic mix of darkness and light. Though the drama swings like a pendulum from good to evil and back again, whirling its characters off in murder, fear and madness, the music maintains the balancing point between the two extremes.

Once again the Willows Theatre has assembled an excellent cast especially the three principle characters played by Simon Ralph (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), Maggie Gish (Emma Carew) and Megan Ross (Lucy Harris), and the musical direction by Andrew Holtz really draws you into a world of darkness and light. Andrea Bechert also went the extra mile on the scenic design, particularly when the set changes to Dr. Jekyllís laboratory.

For tickets or more information call (925) 798-1300 or visit the Willowsí website at www.willowstheatre.org.

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