Leith theatre, Edinburgh
Hope Dickson Leach relocates RL Stevenson’s gothic chiller to its spiritual home in Edinburgh and gives it a modern format, but it’s a verbose, old-fashioned work
Two years ago the idea would have been preposterous: why would anyone re-enact Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella in the dilapidated corridors and back rooms of Leith theatre while the audience watched a live screening in the auditorium? But this is 2022 and film-theatre hybrids are as current as face masks and hand gel.
A shame the performance itself is so old fashioned. I’m not referring to the pastiche 1940s atmosphere created so effectively by writer and director Hope Dickson Leach in her black-and-white movie. With its stark side-lighting, gloomy backgrounds and the diffused glow of grand Edinburgh New Town windows, it has the look of a Dickens adaptation by David Lean. Add a touch of film noir and you’ve got a suitably creepy backdrop for Henry Pettigrew’s slowly disintegrating Dr Jekyll to transform into the murderous Mr Hyde.