Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Toronto Gets Two-Faced With Jekyll & Hyde

It is often said that the path to hell is paved with good intentions. 

This adage fits very well with the musical Jekyll and Hyde (based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale.) Desperate to help his ailing father, Dr. Jekyll, played by the electrifying Constantine Maroulis (American Idol star), has developed a formula to help people overcome the evil that lurks in their souls. His proposal to test his formula on a human subject is vehemently rejected by society's powerful upper crust. In this production, the regality of 19th century London is brought to life with elaborate period costumes and sweeping sets.

Dr. Jekyll finds the inspiration for his subject in the least likeliest of places: a sordid brothel. Lucy, portrayed by Canada's own R & B superstar, Deborah Cox, is the diva of all prostitutes. With her show stopping and licentious rendition of 'Bring on the Men', the show had in fact, just begun. As incongruous as it may seem, Cox played the character of Lucy with elegance and grace and truly brought a profound sense of depth to a character who is archetypically one dimensional. With her smoldering good looks and a soul-stirring voice to boot, there is no doubt that Cox will conquer Broadway when the show makes its triumphant return in April of next year.

Drawing on inspiration from Lucy to make his own dreams come true, Dr. Jekyll injects his formula into himself and the transformation to Mr. Hyde is disturbing to watch, as it should be, when he writhes and moans in pain. With his broad vocal range, there is no doubt that Maroulis is a veritable rock star. 

Unfortunately, his star quality does not extend to his acting ability. The delivery of his lines for both characters was static and unchangeable. At times, the show bordered on being overly melodramatic but it was tempered with excellent production values and smooth transitions from one scene to the next. In the end, the gorgeous score and haunting melodies are what make the show memorable. 

---Alison Silveira

Starring Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox
Directed and Choreographed by Jeff Calhoun
Book and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
Music by Frank Wildhorn

Photos by: Chris Bennion

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