Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Alhambra Crosses over to Dark Side

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Alhambra Crosses over to Dark Side

Article excerpt

Byline: David Crumpler, Times-Union staff writer

This much is sure: Whatever chemical Dr. Henry Jekyll cooked up in that laboratory of his wasn't the precursor to Prozac.

Jekyll & Hyde, now playing at the Alhambra Dinner Theatre, is nothing like the familiar, feel-good musical you expect from dinner theater.

Nobody sings anything close to a lyric like, "There's a bright, golden haze on the meadow." The pervasive mood is more akin to, "There's a cold, bloody corpse in the gutter."

Yet this dark affair offers its own kind of theatrical pleasures: Jekyll & Hyde is passionate and intense, and beautifully performed by a big cast with soaring voices. Though overtly melodramatic at times, its Victorian-horror-amid-the-fog qualities are seductive. In the end, you admire director Tod Booth's decision to shake loose from the Oklahoma syndrome.

The musical is based on Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Today, we recognize "Jekyll and Hyde" as shorthand for someone who alternates between charming and nasty behavior.

A doctor and research scientist, Henry Jekyll (played by Cody Gay) is distraught over his ailing father's "madness." He thinks he's invented a cure, a formula isolating the good and evil elements in people, but needs to try it on a living soul.

His proposal is rejected, however, when he goes before the board at a prominent London hospital.

And it's a distraught Jekyll -- who's engaged to the upper-class Emma (Christina D'Orta), daughter of the board chairman -- who makes his way to a pub and finds comfort from a prostitute named Lucy (Kelly Jeanne Grant). Their unlikely friendship will come back to haunt her.

Jekyll decides to inject himself with his formula, which backfires and brings out his most base and violent elements. Transformed into Edward Hyde, he lets down his hair (literally) and sets out to harm those who rejected him. …

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