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was sold to gypsies as a small child for half a tank of gas and a kitten. She was quickly, if not easily, retrieved by her mother after the kitten was revealed to be an Eldrich horror looking for a ride into the nearest metropolitan area to begin wreaking havoc. It's been a bone of contention between Maria and her family ever since, whether the Horror-kitten would've been more or less trouble than she grew up to be.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jekyll and Hyde

Last weekend, I went to see the Pasadena Theatre Company's production of Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical.

As a whole, the production was largely what viewers might expect from all community theater. Confusing staging, uneven amplification, a mostly computer and synthesizer generated orchestra that overpowered the handful of acoustic instruments, and a vocally uneven cast.

However, the production definitely had some bright moments. John Scheeler and Michele Guyton, Jekyll/Hyde and Lucy respectively, were the two strongest voices in the cast; at the perormance I attended, Ms. Guyton has the distinguished honor of being the only female lead consistently on pitch. The Board of Governors, while a mixed bag vocally, produced a number of laughs.

John Scheeler was fantastic as Jekyll/Hyde, standing out with great distinction when compared to the rest of the cast. Even if the whole production had been a failure, his performance was worth the price of admission. Strong acting, a good voice, and he sure knew how to work his hair for "Confrontation."

Michele Guyton as Lucy was another shining light in an otherwise drab show. Her voice was lovely and a good match of Scheeler's. Her acting wasn't the best, but she portrayed Lucy as a sympathetic character, hard to do when one plays a whore, and there was obvious enthusiasm for her role. She even managed to make the somewhat humdrum song, "New Life" interesting to watch.

Playing Dr. Jekyll's friend, John Utterson, was E. Lee Nicol. It's hard to remember what his singing was like, but he was one of the better actors of the ensemble.

Barbara Hartzell was a disappointing Emma Carew. Her acting was stiff, making the character unlikable, and her operatic singing style was out of place and off pitch, marred by an overly wide vibrato.

The rest of the cast is a mix of vocal and acting quality. My biggest complaint about the show is the staging - particularly the umbrellas in "Murder, Murder." It was awkward and confusing, and came across as a poorly executed rip-off of old Broadway musicals.  Character singing too far upstage, and a silly scene where Hyde pops out of a frightened crowd left me wondering if I should laugh or not. To their credit, the cast did their best with it and seemed to be having fun. In short, for a community theater production, it was pretty good rendition of a show a little beyond their resources..

My rating: 3 out of 5 mushrooms

Jekyll and Hyde is still running this weekend through November 21. Go to the Pasadena Theater Company's website if you're interested in tickets.

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