Last week, I watched Repertory Philippines’ off-season production of Jekyll & Hyde at Onstage, Greenbelt 1.

The musical, of course, is based on the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, in which the character Dr. Jekyll performs a scientific experiment on himself, leading to a drastic transformation in his personality.


Watching the play has made me realize I haven’t actually read the original text (I read Treasure Island back in fourth grade!), although the premise has always been very familiar — mostly from watching cartoons like this:

Looney Tunes: Hyde and Hare, lol!

Watching the musical was a great introduction to a landmark work of psychological fiction. Like the novella, the musical is narrated by John Utterson, Dr. Henry Jekyll’s good friend and lawyer. Meaning to explore the duality of good and evil within man to find a cure for his father’s illness, Dr. Jekyll proposes a scientific experiment to the board of directors of St. Jude’s Hospital and is met with opposition. Wanting to pursue his study, Jekyll decides to use himself as the subject for his experiment, which transforms him into Edward Hyde, a raving savage who prowls murderously about London.

I doubt any people come in and watch the play without knowing the premise, so I was surprised to find that there was a lot more to the story than the harum-scarum tale in popular reference.

Repertory’s staging of Jekyll & Hyde was quite the experience — I was blown away by the intensity of it all, especially in the second act. The cast was stellar as a whole — Junix Inocian was solid as Utterson, Cris Villongco’s Emma Carew shows why she keeps getting all the female lead parts, and the chorus was one of the better ones I’ve seen in the local productions —  but the most memorable performances for me were those of Jet Pangan and Kalila Aguilos.

I’ve been impressed by Jet Pangan’s theatrical performance before (in Next to Normal), but nothing could’ve prepared me for his Jekyll-and-Hyde. He was great as the misunderstood Henry Jekyll and he was on fire as the wild, depraved Hyde, but simply AMAZING when he was doing the two characters simultaneously! Two vastly different personalities portrayed by a single person in an impassioned exchange is no small feat, and Jet Pangan pulls it off without missing a beat. I’ve been in and out of theater shows for the past couple of years, and Jet Pangan’s Jekyll and Hyde is really one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.

I also loved Kalila Aguilos as Lucy Harris, the “woman of the night” drawn towards both Jekyll and Hyde. I’ve only seen her as Queen Femina in the campy Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal, so she was quite the revelation in Jekyll.  I think she does both the sultry and sensitive quite well, a subtle mirroring of the duality of the human personality that is thematic in the story.

Two thumbs up for Repertory’s Jekyll & Hyde, and I’m adding The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to my reading list for the year!

***

Watch Repertory’s Jekyll & Hyde
March 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31; April 13, 14 – 8:00PM
March 17, 18, 24, 25, 31; April 1, 14, 15 – 3:30PM
With special shows on April 20, 21 & 22 – 8:00PM
and April  21 & 22 – 3:30PM 8:00 PM on Fridays & Saturday
3:30 PM on Saturdays & Sundays

OnStage 2/F Greenbelt 1, Ayala Center, Makati City

Starring Michael Williams and Jet Pangan as Jekyll/Hyde, Kalila Aguilos as Lucy, Cris Villongco as Emma, and Junix Inocian as Utterson.

Directed by Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo

For tickets, call (63) (2) 571-6926 or logon to Ticketworld