Set amidst the gothic backdrop of 19th century Edinburgh, Lung Ha Theatre Company and Drake Music Scotland both bring to the stage the infamous story of The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde. While very loosely based on the original plot, together the idea of duality and the fight between good and evil persist, as the audience sees a young girl tortured by this internal struggle.
The feminist element of the show is refreshing, as Miriam Jekyll (Emma McCaffrey) is seen pushing for her right to an education, and for equal opportunity to her brother. The show is successfully carried by its lead, as she gives the rest of the cast the confidence to perform. Despite the large size of the cast, with over twenty individuals of all ages involved, the actors continually complimented and encouraged each other, always prepared to step in when nerves threatened to take over some actors. Everyone had their place on stage, and deserved to be there. The actors’ delivery of their lines and mocking of the sexist opinions of the Victorian period made the whole show amusing and light-hearted. The more serious elements of the play were heartfelt and sincere, particularly the relationship between Miriam and her father as it came to the climax of the play.
One could review this show totally focused on the fact that the cast is primarily made up of the disabled and those with learning difficulties. However, that fact is not what stands out when watching this production. Instead, it is the tight-knit chemistry between the cast, the funny delivery and understanding of the text, and the progressive plot that advocates the right for equal opportunity, for Miriam as a woman in 1880s, and for every member on stage, who are often prejudiced against. This production, directed by Caitlin Skinner, proves that art has no boundaries, not even for the disabled: it is an exemplary piece of theatre, one that will surely be enjoyed by all those who see it.
Follow Beth on Twitter @beth_blakemore