Theater Review: Jekyll & Hyde



Repertory Philippines will continue to amaze theater goers with its latest 2012 show Jekyll & Hyde. It stars Jett Pangan and Michael Williams, who alternate in the lead role of Dr. Henry Jekyll / Edward Hyde; Cris Villongco as Emma Carew, Jekyll's charming fiancée; Kalila Aguilos as Lucy Harris, the sultry and saucy actress who's the main attraction at "The Red Rat"; and Junix Inocian as Gabriel John Utterson, Jekyll's lawyer and friend.


Jekyll & Hyde portrays a story of love, redemption, and the seductive power of evil. It is adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella with music by Frank Wildhorn and book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. The songs are very powerful and perfectly accompany the fast-changing scenes. I'm sure many will also enjoy listening to the cast members' renditions of "This is the Moment," "Someone Like You," "A New Life," "Alive," "Take Me As I Am," "Once Upon a Dream," "In His Eyes," and "Dangerous Game."


Composer Frank Wildhorn's other Broadway credits include The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War. His latest musical, Wonderland, began performances at Broadway's Marquis Theater in March 2011. Oscar-winning writer Leslie Bricusse, on the other hand, is the genius behind Stop The World I Want to Get Off, Scrooge, Doctor Dolittle, Victor/Victoria, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.


The story of Jekyll & Hyde is set against the backdrop of Victorian London where Dr. Jekyll begins to manifest alarmingly erratic behavior. His desire to come up with a cure to his father's worsening condition leads him to experiment on himself first. Thus, from being a gentle but obsessive scientist, Dr. Jekyll's evil side emerges in the person of Mr. Hyde, his sadistic alter ego, whenever he drinks a secret potion. The transformation will shock and stir audiences as Hyde reveals his sinister side that manifests in brutality, sexuality, and cruelty. The plot thickens when a serial killer starts haunting the city streets, committing assault and murder under the cloak of darkness and the dismal London fog. Given this synopsis, let me honestly say that I don't recommend bringing kids to see this show, though.


Prepare to be blown away by the actors' terrific performances under the skillful direction of theater luminary Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo. I've seen Jett Pangan in Next to Normal twice and am already definitely impressed with his acting and singing abilities. But seeing him portray a tortured soul in this dark musical made me admire him more. He brilliantly transformed from good to evil and back without any props like masks or costume changes. It was just him, up there, on stage and it was awesome to witness. It was like watching someone play a cat-and-mouse game with himself. I hope I'll also get a chance to watch a show where Michael Williams, another brilliant actor and director, plays the lead role.


Cris Villongco is great as Emma because she has the face and voice of an angel. She ably portrayed the delicate and yet strong woman the role calls for. It was my first time to watch Kalila Aguilos on stage and, I must say, she is another talented actress to watch out for. I like her voice and I hope to catch her in many other plays in the future. 


Other cast members include: Steve Cadd who plays the role of Sir Danvers Carew, Emma's father and Chairman of the Board of Governors.; Jack Salud who plays the role of Simon Stride, the secretary of the Board of Governors and Jekyll's rival for Emma's affections; Reuben Uy who plays the role of Lord Savage, a member of the Board of Governors; Red Nuestro who plays the role of Bishop of Basingstoke, a hypocritical, sadistic, sexually driven man of the cloth and a member of the Board of Governors; Mayen Bustamante-Cadd who plays the role of Lady Beaconsfield, the only female member of the Board of Governors; Jamie Inocian who plays the role of the Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald Proops, a member of the Board of Governors; Oliver Usison who plays the role of General Lord Glossop, a pompous retired army man and a member of the Board of Governors; Jamie Wilson who plays the role of Spider, a pimp and proprietor of "The Red Rat"; Naths Everett who plays the role of Nellie, the German prostitute / manageress of "The Red Rat"; and James Stacey who plays the role of Poole, Jekyll's loyal manservant. 


I would also like to applaud the members of the ensemble. They did really good playing various roles and singing the other songs. The quick costume changes are amazing! Two thumbs up for costume designer Raven Ong for that.


Comprising the artistic and creative team of Jekyll & Hyde are Baby Barredo (Artistic Director), Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (Associate Artistic Director), Rem Zamora (assistant director), John Batalla (Lighting Designer), Joey Mendoza (Set Designer), Raven Ong (Costume Designer), and Onyl Torres (Musical Director).


The production staff is composed of Gidget Tolentino (Production Manager and Sound Engineer), Ayam Barredo (Company Manager), Perky Parong (Stage Manager), Pol Roxas (Sound Technician), Pablito Salvador (Lighting Technician), and Adul Lasin (Set Execution and Scenic Artist).


The marketing, sales, and publicity of this production is led by Toots Tolentino (PR & Publicity) with Rem Zamora and Oliver Usison (PR & Publicity, Marketing), Marie Talay and Rose Silva (Marketing & Sales), and Dave Fabros (Photography).



Co-presented by the City of Makati, Enderun Colleges, Bellaroca Island Resort and Spa and Velvet, Jekyll & Hyde runs from March 16 to April 22, 2012 with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and matinee shows on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. All performances are at Onstage, Greenbelt 1, Makati City.

For tickets, inquiries, and other information, call Repertory Philippines at 571-6926 or 571-4941 or email info@repertory.ph. Tickets are also available thru Ticketworld at 891-9999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph. Please visit www.repertory.ph, subcribe to their YouTube channel, and add them on Facebook.

*Special thanks to Jude Bautista for the permission to use his photos


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