Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jason watches legitimate theater: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

At the San Jose Rep. It's been a long time since I've seen a play that isn't either the Thrillpeddlers or the Primitive Screwheads (BTW, their Indiana Jones parody--without blood--is coming soon as part of Indiefest's Another Hole in the Head Horror/Fantasy/Sci-Fi Film Festival).

It's been even longer since I read the Robert Louis Stevenson story. In fact, I'm not sure if I ever actually read the original (maybe I only know the basics through the Bugs Bunny parodies). If I did read it, it was when I was a little kid. So I can't comment on how faithful this adaptation was.

Oh yeah, this is the world premiere run of a new adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher. In his notes in the playbill, he wrote about how he wanted to add a more interesting love interest (for Hyde, rather than Jekyll), and how he wanted to make Jekyll not entirely good and Hyde not entirely evil. Again, I can't speak to how it compares to the original story or other adaptations, but I can say it was an effective, entertaining show.

The stagecraft was brisk, which really kept the heart pounding and blood flowing. The red doors popping up everywhere were cool, and gave a feeling of constantly passing from one world to another. The choice to have multiple actors (and one actress) play Hyde (none of whom played Jekyll) worked. And there were Grand Guignol moments that, of course, made me very happy.

So yeah, I'm not a theater critic, but I had fun. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" plays at the SJ Rep through June 8.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I object to calling Thrillpeddlers 'illegitimate' theater in general...but especially in league with Primitive Screwheads.....

puppymeat said...

I did not mean to imply Thrillpeddlers was "illegitimate" theater. I meant to contrast all the movies I watch with live theater (and I was referencing a Simpsons episode where Homer watches Troy McClure in "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off" and he says, "I love legitimate theater". I believe it's right after a rousing chorus of "Rock Me Dr. Zaius").

Anyway, I wasn't calling the Thrillpeddlers illegitimate. I made an off-hand comment pointing out that recently all the live theater I've seen is more counter-culture, 'niche' programs, not at something as mainstream as the San Jose Rep. I see how you could misinterpret it, but that wasn't my intention.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
I'm glad somebody made this point -I was going to correct you myself. The Thrillpeddlers are world-renowned, and they are about as 'legitimate' as it gets - hence their appearance on the 2-disc Special Edition of SWEENEY TODD - even if what they do is for a smaller (soem would say more discerning) audience.
Have a great weekend.