Stage One New Musical Group from Dundalk are new to Waterford and they set the hearts a beating and laid down a powerful marker for awards at the 50th anniversary of WIFLO with their powerhouse performance of Frank Wildhorn’s anthemic musical Jekyll and Hyde with lyrics from Leslie Bricusse and Steve Cuden. Wildhorn likes the dramatic emotional sockaroomy three minute big numbers and his shows are over packed with big orchestrations, drums, bass and thundering brass. Not for the lyrical or faint-hearted! Musically, dramatically and vocally this production delivered the goods, despite a tight mess of a set, some good and some nondescript costumes and an under cued lighting plot.
The company also had to cope with the illness of a character and they coped so well and went on to electrify the audience.
The message of the duality of our natures was well stated and the social hypocrisy of the time was well made as Dr Jekyll fought against authority to bring about a medical revolution that saw him experiment on himself with frightening results. Brendan Cleary was a commanding Utterson, always true to his friend Jekyll who was engaged to the socially elevated Emma. The Board of Governors was well cast even if there were some odd costuming choices.
A large young cast filled the tight performance area and they painted nice vocal pictures with Facade and the powerful Murder. The ladies rocked the house with a raunchy Bring On The Men, but the obvious success of this rested on three quality performances. They were by Leanna Carragher as Emma who excelled in In His Eyes the ladies duet, occasionally she was not secure in her upper register, Sinéad O’Callaghan as Lucy Harris was exceptional with a wide vocal range from musical to mezzo and she wowed the audience with Someone Like You, Sympathy, Tenderness and the poignant A New Life.