Jekyll & Hyde review – rock’n’roll swagger

Drew McOnie delivers skilful storytelling and terrific dancing with an inspired Jekyll and Hyde set in 1950s London

The narrative issue is one of the most pressing in dance today. Very few choreographers know how to tell a story; incoherence has become the rule, rather than the exception. In his enthralling new production of Jekyll & Hyde, the Olivier award-winning director and choreographer Drew McOnie shows us how it should be done. There is no synopsis in the programme, and no word spoken on stage, but from the moment the curtain rises we are led, with algorithmic precision, along an ever-darkening path. The process, and the final maelstrom of violence, have the ineluctable quality of nightmare.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella, 130 years old this year, is an inspired source for dance theatre. McOnie has updated its Victorian setting to the rackety demimonde of 50s London. In a nod to Stevenson’s borrowing of the name from the family of the horticulturalist Gertrude Jekyll, McOnie’s protagonist is no longer a laboratory scientist but a botanist. Daniel Collins’s Jekyll embodies a multiplicity of contradictions. On the surface, he’s a decent, awkward 50s chap, who can’t quite bring himself to express his adoration for Rachel Muldoon’s winsome Dahlia, while in private he’s the snake-hipped hero of his erotic fantasies. Tim Hodges’s Hyde, meanwhile, is all brutal swagger, with a greasy Bill Haley-style forelock and the vicious, pretty-boy sneer of Richard Attenborough’s Pinkie in Brighton Rock.

Related: Drew McOnie: ‘It’s not a technical process, it’s instinctual’

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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