The Arrow & Traps Theatre Company’s adaptation of the gothic identity horror, written by Robert Louis Stevenson, delves into various relevant topics, themes and issues of a post-Trump America.
The introduction of issues surrounding America’s controversial gun laws as well as the LGBTQ community is done so through an intelligent and fresh re-write of the original novel. I must say that the level of performance from each member of this five-actor production was truly outstanding. It takes talent to have me on the edge of my seat, and Gabrielle Nellis-Pain brought her character (Imogen Poole) to life; her attention to vocal delivery when speaking as well as her impeccable ability to use movement to manipulate her body within the performance gave her character an incredibly convincing nature. Strong lead, Christopher Tester, who embodied Edward Hyde, had the best acting range I have ever seen. The main theme of the production, that being the conflicting duality of human nature, was predominantly portrayed throughout the production by the naturalistic performance of Christopher Tester.
To follow, the set design, artistic detail and lighting design for the show all contributed notably to the piece’s excellence. From the moment I walked in to the theatre, I was drawn to the sizeable yet somehow minimalistic set onstage. The use of space, texture and materials became the main noticeable act of genius within the set design. Upstage, a sheet of corrugated metal stood as a wall. The attention to detail was impressive. Plastered on its’ surface was a historically influenced propaganda poster of Will Pinchin, (Henry Jekyll). Downstage from this, a sheer panel was placed. Met with precisely constructed lighting, the political message within Jekyll’s speeches was brilliant. The poster worked its best when Pinchin was acting as a politician set behind this translucent structure, where it physically portrayed the separation between the world of politics and the world of the general public (another issue illuminated by the performance). Superb.
Thirdly, the writing of this piece rounded off all positive aspects and acted as the final factor to make this show truly amazing. The realistic way in which Ross McGregor writes blew me away. Every stage direction, note and technique used by McGregor shone through the actors in this piece. The writer used words with such well-defined intention, sympathy to each of the five characters, ensuring that each line was relevant to the plot, and followed the theme and message of this modern adaption of ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.
To conclude, every single aspect of this production was amazing. Each and every member of the cast and crew’s work needs to be recognised for its excellence. I am truly grateful to have been witness to such an amazing adaptation and performance.
Written by Dean from Birmingham Ormistion Academy's Musical Theatre Pathway.