Del Mar College Drama department introduces the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde play directed by Professor Kim Frederick. The story takes place during the year 1883 in London, England home to a doctor who used himself as a test subject in an experiment that went terribly wrong. Now Dr. Henry Jekyll with multiple personalities of his other self Mr. Hyde tries to undo the wrong that had been done from his experiment.
The beginning of the play grabbed and slowly lost my attention as Dr. Jekyll was introduced into the scene with his fellow men having a drink and gossiping about the events of the town. Dr. Jekyll’s character played by Andrews Brandow captured the tired deranged persona of the doctor but the personality of the character faded and sparked light through out the play. During the beginning of the play the story confused and lost my attention as the scenes became jumbled together, if I did not have previous knowledge of the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde one might find their self lost wondering if they missed out on a key piece that was taking place.
At times where my attention began to disconnect from the play Sir Danvers Carew played by Charles Rey Luna quickly brought my focus back to the stage as he sent a welcoming warmth through the crowd with his refreshing and hilarious accent and attitude. Challenging himself, Charles Rey played four other characters in this adapted story, as Hyde #2, Richard Enfield, O.F. Sanderson, and the Inspector. The Del Mar student brought life back to the stage with the five characters that took the Richardson stage, carrying a favored accent through out the a few of the characters making at times difficult to distinguish when one character of Luna’s left and re entered the stage.
Cameron Catnu showed the diversity he could present between his two characters as Dr. H.K Lanyon and Hyde #3. Cameron Cantu amazingly captured the crazed split personality of Dr. Jekeyll as Hyde #3 sending chills through my spine as the menacing personality of Hyde as he stalked the stage. When Hyde #3 left and his second character Dr. Lanyon perfectly transitioned through his characters without hesitation, playing his concerned yet frightened doctor.
The mood shifted as Katelyn Frederick’s character Elizabeth Jelkes made her way onto the stage as a worker at a hotel who finds her self in a forbidden love. Kaetlyn took the audience back to the 1800s with her with her emotional yet determinate independent character, not a popular personality amongst many in the 1800s, she was not afraid to add a little sass to give her character a tasteful personality. While she showed Elizabeth could capture and hold her audience attention, the tone of her character seemed to date her already dated character. I found it difficult to determine the age of her character at times. The bedroom scene that was meant to be erotic, I found awkward viewing from the audience. The scene should have played smoothly and not made obvious to the audience that these were two people that have never been in the same bed together, who felt just as awkward as the audience did watching the scene. The forsaken love Elizabeth found herself quarreled in would seem to show a youthfulness in her character but I found a little unsettling as I took her character to be an older women in love with a character who played himself to be a young gentleman.
Samuel Meyer as the leading man for Mr. Hyde took the breath of the audience to another height with his devilishly handsome and intimidating character, showing that he was in charge of the conflicting battle in Dr. Jekyll’s mind. His second character Gabriel Utterson did not grasp as effectively my attention as did his other character, but there are those who say it is easier to be bad than it is to be good, maybe this was the case when it came to playing the role of good and evil.
Sara Gonzalez shown strong though her character as Hyde #4, the tempting sly personality of Mr. Hyde. Using a female to potray this particular personality of Hyde was a unique and smart move, the alluring side of a women played perfectly to show the seducing character of Hyde’s personality.
Though the costume attempted to capture the gentleman and lady attire of those that strolled the town of London, I believe the costuming could have been more fitted to the actors and actresses.
Dr. Jekyll’s mutton chops were distracting at times I found myself wandering off about what was on his face. I believed something that added to the problem of distinguishing Elizabeth’s age was her costume, the dress aged the character and not by distinguishing the time period. With the play taking place in an English Victorian era the designers had one of the most popular fashion eras to create designs from. The fashion of the Victorian Era was all about tailored and fitted clothing. Elizabeth’s dress did not compliment her, breaking the rules of the Victorian clothing. The costuming could have been modernized especially since the Victorian fashion is a popular trend. If Elizabeth’s costume had been played up more with what the Victorian era had to offer such as corsets, this could have added more enticement and lust in this love affair.
The costume of the butler Poole, played by Sara Gonzalez, overwhelmed the girl making her character hard to take seriously. Though she is a female playing a male character this does not mean she has to wear male clothing, not unless her character is a cross dresser, but the costume should have been feminized, so that she did not look as if she was being swallowed by her clothes.
The idea to have the four personalities of Mr. Hyde speaking as Dr. Jekyll’s subconscious flowed rather well as they spoke in turn showing an unbalance state of mind Dr. Jekyll was battling with, the blood colored light beaming on the backdrop added to the insanity in the atmosphere.
Overall I found the play to be interesting and though it has it’s flaws as does any play I still enjoyed it. I do recommend for those who are interested in the play to attend and support the young aspiring actors and actresses as they tell their dark spin on the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
For more information on the play you can visit www.delmar.edu/richardson or like Drama at Del Mar on Facebook.