Jekyll and Hyde
Venue: Assembly George Square Gardens
New Zealand production company A Slightly Isolated Dog return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe after their standout 2018 hit Don Juan. The group now tackle Robert Louis Stevenson’ classic Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde using this as a vehicle for their madcap immersive comic fun.
A Slightly Isolated Dog take the loose story of Jekyll and Hyde giving it an amusing shake-up as they explore the pleasant Dr. Jekyll attempting to separate the darker sides of his personality through a scientific experiment. The result is the murderous Mr. Hyde. Chaos ensues.
As we enter the George Square Gardens Piccolo tent, the five-piece group welcome us, mingling with the audience and asking polite questions. Speaking in extravagant French accents and covering all areas of the theatre, we get a small taster of the immersive, highly-charged fun that awaits us. The first ten minutes of the production is something of a sharing session with the performers discussing what they have learned about the audience – with impressive recollection of names and details. This should also serve as an indicator that the audience is very much part of the show – whether they like it or not.
The troupe launch into their adaptation telling us Dr. Jekyll was the nicest man imaginable (he buys a Prius just so he can cycle around with it on a trailer and give lifts to people), and that Mr. Hyde was the most unpleasant man (he breaks the necks of kittens and loves to punch). In exploring this the group use inventive techniques – other than pulling up audience members – from voice changing microphones, balloons popping, netting to act as London fog, and amusing sound effects. Part of the charm of A Slightly Isolated Dog’s production is their scrappy hand-crafted appeal.
Jekyll and Hyde is a sensory delight with something at all corners of theatre to catch our attention. The performers are continually working in overdrive – fully committed to their roles with a delightful conviction. Mixing these immersive hi-jinks with musical numbers also keeps things lively and exciting including tracks like Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy.
Jekyll and Hyde is rambunctious fun that implores you to lose your inhibitions and embrace the madness. This immersive experience is a testament to the quick-thinking and improvisational talents of the performers who provide tremendously entertaining results.