I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Awesome Adaptations (12) - Jekyll and Hyde

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,

Awesome Adaptations is a weekly bookish meme, hosted at Alisa Selene’s books blog, Picturemereading.  Anyone can play along! Each week there is a new category of adaptation to blog about. Any format (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. If you’re playing along on your own blog, just mention Picturemereading in your post and include the banner above. Let them know which film you’d pick and why it is an awesome adaptation worth watching. Oh, and don’t forget to share the link to your own post in the comments for that week’s challenge so that everyone can read your thoughts!

An awesome adaptation from the stage
Title: Jekyll & Hyde The Musical
Adapted from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

It's over now, I know inside
No one must ever know
The sorry tale of Edward Hyde and those who died
No one must ever know

This story is rather a strange case to me.  I've seen four different adaptations (two films, one miniseries and this musical) and they all have a similar plot (well, except the miniseries) which bears little resemblance to the plot of the novel.  All adaptations seem to need to add romance/sex/more women to a story that is a much more high concept philosophical tale.  These changes do transform the story into one with more incident and higher stakes and I think it is an improvement.  For this post I want to focus on the revival of the Wildhorn musical version (that is touring now!) and how it tells the story.  It currently stars Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox.

This production pares down the lavish set and orchestration design of the original Broadway show.  It's much more intimate, with a darker, moodier palette.  Watching the production, I was completely taken in by the Gothic overtones and the emotional impact of the story.  Jekyll is trying to test a serum to separate good and evil to save his father who is hopelessly insane.  He is thwarted by the council members of the asylum, and decides to use the serum himself.  As Hyde he undertakes a revenge (and for funnsies) mission to kill the members of that council which makes his violence understandable, if still insane.  And it does help that the council members are pretty unlikable.  The musical and especially Constantine's performance balances the different sides of the character and makes them almost equally sympathetic and repugnant.  Jekyll is frustratingly weak at times, which makes their "Confrontation" near the end excitingly explosive, with the production adding layers of multimedia fire and effects to emphasize the emotional clash of personalities.

The added pathos of Lucy, the lady of the night who is in love with Jekyll but is unfortunately Hyde's obsession, rounds out the story by creating a character who is too weak to fight against the fate that Jekyll rails against.  Both Jekyll and Lucy are powerless and drawn to each other and also tormented by Hyde.  The story is enhanced by the music which is dark and sensuous and so memorable, and all the actors are excellent in their roles.  The songs are quite challenging vocally and the leads all rise up to the challenge.  If you see this musical near you, go see it! 

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  1. ohh I need to see this one because it sounds AWESOME..I have heard some of the songs but I have never seen it performed!

    1. Oh I would recommend getting the cast album too, I love how they interpreted the music and the Constantine especially has such a gorgeous voice.