Samuel Collings delivers a scary, physical and gripping performance in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Guildford Shakespeare Company.
This adaption for one actor of Robert Louise Stevenson’s 1886 book by playwright Caroline Devlin is more than equal to the original.
It follows Gabriel Utterson’s investigation of strange coincidences involving his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the brutish murderer Edward Hyde.
Utterson discovers to his horror that Jekyll is drinking a chemical concoction to live out his darker urges as Mr Hyde.
Collings doesn’t spare himself; when Jekyll drinks the potion, he throws himself to the floor, contorts, twitches, thrashes, arises clutching his neck while grimacing before hurling himself full length again.
The man will be a mass of bruises when the run in St Nicolas’ Church in Bury Street, Guildford, ends on November 5; the Victorian church is the perfect setting for this gothic horror.
Just one nit-pick; as the seating isn’t ‘banked’ only fleeting views of Collings writhing on the stage floor can be glimpsed between, or over, or around, the heads of those sitting by you.
But his screams, groans and the lighting are enough to help imagine his pain and terror.
Collings’ performance is enhanced by skillful lighting and clever use of recorded sound effects, from the technical team led by lighting engineer Mark Dymock and sound designer Matt Eaton.
For more information and to book tickets visit the website at https://www.guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk/
Review by Jon Walker