Saturday, December 5, 2015


Jeffrey Hatcher's stage adaptation of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novella is a chilling contemporary take on an intense psychological thriller. By turning the double-sided character into four separate actors, all cascading across the stage through intricate and blood curdling scenes, modern audiences are confronted with the possibility of a descent into madness through  drug addiction as a multi-faceted pathology  that can make murderers of men as they prey upon each others competitive spirits and innocent women.

In the  hands of Echo Productions the script becomes an acrobatic, musically diverse array of amazing physical talent and diverse acting skills. The entire ensemble shine in a variety of roles that include gender reverse casting that adds a touch of comedy at the beginning and a layered sincerity and reflective element to a pivotal male character played by a young woman. 
Gender is particularly heteronormative in the play as it simultaneously reveals and deconstructs, with feminist proficiency, the misogyny at the core of the drama. One scene in particular has a gruesome and cleverly written exchange where a group of doctors stand around a recent murder victim. When the less sympathetic medical practitioner describes the examined body the language is crude and subjective as it places the emphasis upon the woman's identity. Quickly another Doctor enters and 'corrects' the chauvinist interpretation of the pathologizing forces that continue to misidentify feminized gender identity within some current mainstream discourse.

Hatchers language is complex and poetic as he seamlessly moves into speeches that diversify character and psychological possibility -

"I've come to believe there's no one who's wholly good or wholly bad...And as for "two streams," I think it's more apt to say ... bodies of water are endless in their possibility: streams and rivers, waterfalls and ice-jams, swamps and quicksand, oceans and deserts, a thousand tributaries flooding over the one into the other."

The staging concepts implicit in the script and the rich tone of the language allow for a multiplicitous reading of gender and identity, and yet the basic chilling potential of a psychopath on the large is front and centre throughout.

The cast has achieved a fine sense of physical and emotional camaraderie as dance, gymnastic flair, and fine acting ability commingle to create a convincing breakneck performance pace that never misses a beat. Bodies tumbling across the stage in flips and leaps, moving into scenes of naturalistic dialogue, and then into chilling moments of rage and terror, and back to soft romantic dance sequences between a man and a woman. And as a contrast to the heterocentric couplings at the centre of the written narrative, the intricately choreographed pairings of Jekyll's many Hyde's gives particular scenes a subtle homosocial, faintly erotic ambience that both titillates and haunts. Director Victoria Fuller has strategically balanced an array of challenging physical and vocal elements in a powerful and seamless production.

The cast is too large to mention all of the fine performances. Standouts include Tyler Hagermann's simultaneously sincere and wicked Dr Jekyll, Joseph Delfin's seething and provocative Sir Danvers Crew/Edward Hyde, Dylan Brennan's at once evil and genuinely subservient as Edward Hyde/Poole, Sheri Anne Godda's suave and precise Gabriel Utterson, and Mallory Fisher's sincere and powerful Elizabeth Jelkes. The entire cast displays a remarkable connectedness, working together to instill a strong sense of professionalism and non stop entertainment into this production.


Showing at the Walmer Theatre, 188 Lowther Avenue, Toronto.

December 2 - 8pm

December 3 - 8pm

December 4 - 8pm

December 5 - 2:30pm

December 5 - 8pm



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