If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket for Jekyll & Hyde the Musical at Lincoln Cathedral you’re in for an evening of alluring terror and spine-tingling talent.
I could think of no setting more spectacular for a Gothic horror story (and during the city’s weird and wonderful Steampunk festival too); an unconventional match perhaps, but this tale is all about opposing impulses after all.
The haunting story, based on the classic novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, explores a scientist’s epic struggle between good and evil.
In an experiment gone awry, Dr Jekyll releases a diabolical alter ego (Mr Hyde) onto the streets of Victorian London. His internal torture and torment is brought down heavily upon friends, colleagues and loved ones.
On arrival into the nave of the cathedral, the audience is met with the minor melodies of a pure-toned soloist. The tune bounces from the ceiling of the nave and a still blue light reveals an army of faces.
From here on in the setting is pulled from tense soliloquies to bustling street scenes with flurries of colour and movement – made all the more exciting by the fantastically frenzied cast. Together, the group (all dedicated local volunteers) create an almighty sound, and visually they, their amazing costumes and the careful choreography are a treat.
Jekyll and Hyde are performed by the show’s director and producer Ben Poole, who creates a disturbing transformation between well-meaning doctor and beast, driven solely by dark impulses. As Hyde he is a terror, and he morphs dramatically between the two extremes.
A particular mention is also required of the two leading ladies of the performance, the tragic back-alley temptress and the angelic finance.
Natalie Tuck as Emma Carew is a vision of purity amid a moody setting and her vocals are stop-dead beautiful, giving us goosebumps for very different reasons.
Sophie Kamal’s portrayal of the doctor’s forbidden lust Lucy Ivy Harris is fiery in contrast, but charming. Her misfortunes and hopeless emotions win her the audience’s hearts, and her voice is immensely powerful. Together, the stars are a wonderful match.
Watch out too for the prim and pretty high society formal occasions, contrasted with the carnivalesque brothel and its snake-like owner.
The space is used exceptionally well, with the looming surroundings of the historic building draped in dramatic lighting. Combined with the actors’ immersion into the audience, guests are made to feel that the cannot escape the sense of foreboding throughout.
When all is concluded, this performance certainly leaves you questioning whether man is basically good and compassionate, or if, in truth, it is ‘all a facade’?