What a premiere. Thunderous applause for minutes and standing ovations after a real goosebump encore. That's how the first performance of the musical "Jekyll & Hyde" ended at the English Theatre Frankfurt on Saturday. Was it just the usual opening night euphoria or is the audience's enthusiasm justified? Clearly the latter. Because what was brought here under the direction of Tom Littler in the English Theatre on stage is simply great.
This begins with the atmospheric stage design. The laboratory of Dr. Henry Jekyll spreads a perfect gothic atmosphere, transforms through curtains sometimes into a stately salon, a church or a seedy dive. By a perfect combination of light, equipment and sound the space on stage is used very well to show the different places of action. It's nice that the musicians are also integrated into the action. While the regular ensemble in appropriate costumes can be seen in the gallery, which is also played from time to time, they are still supported by some performers on the cello or the oboe in some pieces. This creates a special dynamic, which prevents, for example, a musician with an electric guitar from seeming like a disturbing foreign body, but is harmoniously integrated into the goings-on on this level of the stage and thus also into the story.
In this atmospheric setting, the story of the musical loosely based on the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson can unfold adequately: Driven by the will to make the world a better place, scientist Dr. Henry Jekyll is convinced that he can separate the good from the evil in man. When the science committee rejects his research proposal, Jekyll resorts to drastic measures: He continues his research by experimenting on himself. This has unforeseen consequences, as he unleashes a demonic alter ego. As Mr. Edward Hyde, he roams the streets of London without any sense of justice or morality. Through Hyde, not only the people who have stood in the way of Jekyll's research find themselves in mortal danger. Emma Carew, the researcher's fiancée, and the prostitute Lucy Harris must also fear for their lives should Jekyll not succeed in fighting his demon Hyde.
For the Frankfurt production, Tom Atwood has rearranged the songs composed by Frank Wildhorn and written by Leslie Bricusse. When Mr. Hyde takes the stage, this is now accompanied by harder rock sounds. As a result, the musical's musical range sounds a bit more diverse. There are the classic musical ballads like "Take me as I am" or "Once upon a dream", darker numbers like "Alive", ensemble pieces ("Murder, Murder") and of course the very big anthem ("This is the Moment"). But all the pieces have one thing in common: regardless of their sometimes very catchy character, they all shine with a bombastic arrangement that perfectly underlines the overall impression of this production.
The performance of John Addison as Jekyll and Hyde deserves special mention. Addison, who has previously starred and sung in the ETF's musical version of the hit movie "Ghost," shines vocally as well as acting in this dual role. The man who conquers the heart of his fiancée and the audience with fervent passion, teaches you a short time later downright fear. This is mainly due to Addison's acting, but also to the staging. Tom Littler finds a good balance between romance and gothic horror, which he loosens up here and there with a little humor.
So this adaptation of the hit musical has become quite great theatrical entertainment, which in all areas - be it costumes, music, play or equipment - the high professionalism of all involved can be felt. No, the standing ovations were not just the usual premiere enthusiasm, but a well-deserved appreciation of great performances. Definitely watch it!
The musical is on view through February 11, 2018. <link http: www.english-theatre.de jekyll-hyde _blank>Find more info HERE