They say you should never judge a book by its cover; and you should not always judge a musical by its plot. As a story, Jekyll & Hyde seems familiar; as a musical spectacle, it's hugely effective and sometimes magical. Knowing that topping the all around epic glitz of previous production Annie wouldn't be easy, the Londonderry Musical Society (LMS) and director Deigh Reid wisely choose a different route, and are rewarded with a more impressive, and without doubt more intimately theatrical, showcase of their talent.
Both Waterside Theatre and Jekyll & Hyde prove inspired choices for venue and production, the smaller enclosure and ensemble enhancing the effect of audience participation and the confidence of the cast. One will remember the alternate tenderness and tempestuousness in Katie Patton's Lucy Harris, the sometimes spirited and sometimes vulnerable operatics in Shonagh Lyons' Emma Carew, and, above all, the full-blooded, larger than life, powerhouse that is, or even are, Dee Kivlehan's title character/s. In addition to uncovering commendable emotional depth in Jekyll, Kivlehan's heavy metal background and gothic expressions are ideal for the not-so-savoury personality of Hyde.
Chorus numbers such as "Facade" and "Murder! Murder!" are hugely energetic and inventively choreographed, and the showstopping "This Is The Moment" (listen to the original Broadway version below) and "In His Eyes" are the kind of tunes likely to stir oneself, leave nape hairs standing on end, or possibly both. For these, and much more besides, the LMS's production of Jekyll & Hyde is not to be missed.