Sat centre stage Ellie Jekyll pours herself another drink as the lighting turns scarlet red, confiding in new neighbour Abigail Hyde we learn that she has just lost a child in the operating theatre. It might not be the Jekyll & Hyde we know but it wrestles with the same monsters, life, death, duality and the demons that live within.
Reverend Theatre’s double bill production of Jekyll & Hyde and Nerve is unique and interesting. Having the two short, separate plays takes the audience on a journey, they ask questions without forcing a definite answer. Charlie Howitt writes sharp, realistic dialogue and both plays are gritty and grounded. The talented cast easily switch persona’s during the intermission coming back as four completely different personalities for the second show, a feat that must be incredibly rewarding if also decidedly difficult to do.
Nerve is the sister piece and the second half of the double bill. A much more frenetic and high energy feature it dances with the same concepts from slightly different perspectives, diving further into duality whilst more closely examining the effect our peers have on our reactions and mind state. This time instead of watching Ellie give into her inner demons we watch Kate Novak as Sam slowly unshackling herself from them. After the mysterious disappearance of a neighbour we watch Sam and friends deal with the aftermath.
Directed by Jason Warren both pieces were linked not only in content but by lighting, soundtrack and mood. The scene transitions were inventive and powerful, having one character remain on stage in faded light moving naturally into the next scene, it allowed energy to flow through instead of the usual black fade full stop. At times the soundtrack roared a little too loudly over the dialogue of the play, which made for a jarring and confusing effect, in certain scenes the effect was obvious and in keeping with the mood, others it was a little annoying like someone had left the TV on by accident.
A thought provoking evening and the Reverend Theatre company is certainly one to watch.
Words by Matt Miles