Resisting the cliché concerning double-decker buses, I nevertheless note the curious coincidence that two versions of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde story should be occupying local stages at the same time.

In the case of Creation Theatre’s one-person production, the ‘stage’ is actually the basement of Blackwell’s bookshop, where it opens on June 8. In the meantime, the three-man Rhum and Clay Theatre Company are supplying an inventive and hugely entertaining take on the tale at the exquisitely located Watermill Theatre, in Bagnor, near Newbury, and later at various one-night locations, some in Oxfordshire.

Conceived in collaboration with the Watermill’s outreach director Beth Flintoff, the show zippily condenses the story to some 85 minutes of action. Cheerily comic at the outset, with dazzling physicality from the trio of performers, all alumni of Jacques Lecoq’s celebrated Parisian school of mime, the action later takes on a creepily darker tone.

In common with most of the many adaptations, it is based somewhat loosely on the original in terms of plot detail, though naturally focusing on the two-men-sharing-one-body conceit that is central to it.

He is played throughout by the excellent Julian Spooner, who also supplies first-person narrative to mirror Jekyll’s confessional letter of the original. He brilliantly shows the horror of the kindly doctor at his unstoppable involuntary transformations into the sadistic Hyde.

Meanwhile, with much lightning-quick changing of costume, Christopher Harrisson and Matthew Wells present a wide and wonderful gallery of Victorian characters.


Watermill Theatre, Newbury, until June 1
Box office: 01635 46044
Bampton Village Hall, June 12 01993 851963
Brill Memorial Hall, June 13  01844 237237
Uffington Memorial Hall, June 14  01367 820385