© James Hyland 1998-2020
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Based on the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson
Presented in association with Harrogate Theatre
Adapted, Produced and Performed by James Hyland
Directed by Phil Lowe
"Based on the well-known novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, this is a one-man tour-de-force that will leave you breathless, stirred and shaken but at the same time probably feeling like you have witnessed one of the best monologue performances on stage for some time. We all know the story of Jekyll & Hyde—in fact the phrase is part of our culture to describe a person who is unpredictable in character. Stevenson had a fascination for personality extremes and wrote this short story based on a couple of high profile murder cases of his day, one of which involved a personal friend. But how do you stage a plot that involves major physical transformation and gory murder with only one actor and a lectern?... This is an incredible performance by an actor at the top of his game. Drawing us in from the start, Hyland is totally believable both as the doctor and his evil twin, layering his performance alternately with tension and horror yet at no time changing costume or having any other prop than the lectern... Absorbing, atmospheric and terrifying, this is a raw, visceral retelling that doesn’t spare details of the gruesome mutilations or the vile thoughts behind Hyde’s actions. By the end, we were all on the edge of our seats wondering what would happen. This is an incredible performance, not for the faint-hearted but well worth seeing if you can catch it on tour."
~Susan Hawkes, British Theatre Guide
"Brother Wolf strip back Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story to focus on the human mind in a way that provokes discussion and sends fear rippling through the audience. With the run time being an hour James Hyland condenses and focuses the story through the eyes of Jekyll, who is presenting the findings of his experiment as a lecture which works well with the psychology of the piece... Hyland not only adapts the piece but performs it too. At the start he appears as the upstanding Doctor, it’s not long into the show when little glimpses of Mr Hyde come through. Hyland moves between characters in a split second with jerk movements helping this. It’s slick and it’s terrifyingly fast how quick he transforms from one to the other in mind, body and voice. During this performance, it was so tense one audience member gasped with a curse and it was understandable as Hyland had the onlookers in the palm of his hand listening to his every word. You didn’t know what he was going to do and get that stuck in the play you question just how far the character would go and how the night will end... It all leads up to the climactic end which was a terrifying but gripping experience. It’s not for the faint hearted, particularly if you sit in the front row but this classic gothic horror has been transformed into a spine tingling piece of theatre that will leave you with your heart in your mouth."
Rating: FIVE STARS
~Matthew Jackson, The Theatre Twittic
"Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was entertaining and disturbing – all at the same time. Thrill seekers looking for some Halloween scares sat in the dimly lit room of the MET inside Stafford Gatehouse Theatre last night, not knowing what to expect from actor and producer James Hyland. What immediately became apparent was Mr Hyland’s incredible ability to shift between two characters which were one and the same, yet so distinctly different...We found ourselves repulsed by the murderous actions of Mr Hyde, which were described so vividly that it was impossible to look away... It was a fantastic use of theatre of the mind, which is so depended upon with such a solo performance. A constant sense of suspense and anticipation kept the audience at the edge of their seats, and this came to a head when the lights began to dim... It was very tense and delivered upon the need for that feeling of deep dread and unease that only gothic horror can provide. A fantastic, powerful and frightful performance."
~Kirsty Nelms, Staffordshire Living Magazine
"One of the most mesmerising and terrifying performances you'll ever see... James Hyland’s stunning one-man show... This award-winning actor never fails to amaze. There were no Hammer Horror-style props such as smoking potions or racks of test tubes... The language was sometimes shocking but always mesmerising as he filled the auditorium with blood-curdling screams... Hyland is no stranger to darkly fascinating productions. Fagin’s Last Hour (his take on Dickens’ Oliver Twist) and A Christmas Carol (as told by Jacob Marley’s ghost) are the works of genius... Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is an emotional roller-coaster which keeps the audience on the edge of its seats right up to, and including, the last line."
~John Nurden, The Sheerness Times Guardian
"On Thursday evening, eighty students from Yr 9 attended the gripping one-man show, ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ at the The Blake Theatre. In a mesmerising performance by actor James Hyland, this piece of gripping immersive theatre had the boys on the edge of their seats throughout the performance. An additional highlight was the Q&A session that followed the show, with students asking incisive questions about the nature of the character, how to create believable transformations and how to find inspiration for their own writing. Boys were unanimous in their praise of this entertaining and informative night which will start to form the background for their study of a Victorian novel in Year 10."
~Monmouth School for Boys Newsletter
"JAMES Hyland brought his latest Brother Wolf production, 'The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde' to Ffwrnes — and once again it was of the highest standard. James doesn’t tell a story, but instead takes the audience on a journey with him — with just a turn of his head or a simple arm gesture he seamlessly moves from one character to the next and back again with ease. He had the audience spellbound with the tale of the fight between good and evil, which at times, had the more faint hearted hiding behind their hands. James is a master of the one-man shows and as usual, this show was the highest quality, which was truly deserving of the standing ovation he received."
~Robert Dalling, Lanelli Star
"Award-winning actor James Hyland proves how talented he is, and sets a very high standard for theatrical performance.... James Hyland knows exactly what he’s doing and it’s a pleasure to watch someone with this incredible level of talent... Hyland’s adaptation and performance is out of Robert Louis Stevenson’s world... James Hyland is a genius. He has to be. No one ‘ordinary’ could do what he did... He performs, or rather becomes, every character... ‘Seamless’ is an understatement when describing the transitions from one character to the next. Everything about them is captured the instant they appear... Hyland’s every action, word and expression has been carefully and strategically considered. With nothing more than a few adjectives, a hand gesture or turn of the head, Hyland manages to paint such clear pictures... The level of realism in this performance only comes with a great deal of time and effort. And it is clear Hyland and director Phil Lowe have invested a lot of their selves to create an authentic and polished performance. And as an audience, you feel thankful they did... Hyland has thrown everything he has to produce something extraordinary, and the result is a memorable, compelling and five star piece of theatre."
Rating: FIVE STARS
~Thomas Jones, Everything Theatre
"in the hands of the outstandingly talented James Hyland, both adaptor and performer, it becomes a very meaty piece indeed... it's a bravura Brechtian-style performance... Hyland acts with every finger... The voice change is impeccably managed too... So adept is Hyland at all this that he really does create an illusion of there being several actors present because he is almost unrecognisable as he switches role... Don't miss it on tour."
Rating: FIVE STARS
~Susan Elkin, What's On Stage
"James Hyland seamlessly transforms into all of the characters of this one-man play, as his body contorts and bends into the darkness of the London back streets... Dare you sit on the front row!... A fantastic actor... Don't just take my word for it. Go and see it wherever you can."
Rating: FIVE STARS
~Ian Tiso, Stafford Radio
"a fantastic one-man show... The story of experimentation on the duality of the human psyche is such a thrilling read and James Hyland’s adaptation (and subsequent performance of it) takes that thrill to another level... The product is outstanding and original... Hyland’s ability to manipulate his audience is extremely impressive; nervous laughter became genuine at times and at others would trail off into whimpers of fear. One audience member even appeared to be fairly aroused by his portrayal of a prostitute – kudos James! The characterisation of Hyde had me squirming in my seat; who needs make up or special effects to assist a gruesome transformation when your physical theatre skills are second to none?... The fact that I was totally captivated by the unravelling of a truth that I was already aware of is a credit to the adaptation"
Rating: FIVE STARS
~Lily Grouse, What's Peen Seen
"James Hyland has created an exhibition piece with all the devilish cunning of a Franz Liszt. Something so intricate and demanding that only he can play it. This one is not for the faint hearted. It is powerful, intense, spellbinding and disturbing. Thank God I was not on the front row. James Hyland is a (and I choose this word carefully) bloody good actor... Don't go if you are of a nervous disposition. Do go if you want to see a storyteller par excellence."
~Richard Trinder, The Yorkshire Times
"James Hyland triumphs in Jekyll and Hyde... intense and unsettling... Hyland is an enthralling performer. Consequently even when it seems preferable to look away from Hyde's atrocities, it is impossible to do so."
~Ike Carter, Harrogate Advertiser
"magnificently intense, riveting theatre from one man"
~Charles Hutchinson, The York Press
"Doubly chilling... impressive... Remarkable... nerve-jangling new production"
~Susan Darlington, The Morning Star
"The intensity of James Hyland's performance was, again, breathtaking... such a perfect piece of theatre... I loved it!"
~Stephanie Burton, Theatrical Eastbourne
"James Hyland's thrilling solo-drama ... not for the faint hearted... intense and compelling... a veritable tour-de-force performance"
~Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network
"James Hyland triumphs... chilling and hair-raising storytelling... his array of talent is evident throughout this riveting adaptation... an hour of well-paced, sharp performance... compelling and repulsive at the same time... Hyland is so versatile in this production that it is hard to imagine a more excellent fit for the roles of Jekyll and Hyde to provide a gripping retelling of this powerful tale. Sophisticated and sharp, 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is not a production to be missed."
~Hannah Tookey, A Younger Theatre
"Impressively adapted, produced and performed by James Hyland, Hyland is a one man tour de force... This play is worth seeing for his performance alone... In fact, people even screamed in the audience. It is gruesome, scary and at some points downright uncomfortable, but it is a great piece of theatre... Scary it may be but it is also brilliant and James Hyland is a superb actor. Go and see."
~Catherine Balavage, Frost Magazine
"'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is absolutely superb... Hyland is magnificent...Hyland inhabits each character completely, giving the impression that there is in fact more than one actor on stage... I was incredibly impressed by this brilliant show"
~Loitering In the Theatre
"gripping and sometimes terrifying... completely faithful is the sense of fear generated by Hyland’s commanding performance... his connection with the audience is instant... This play is not recommended for anyone who needs a good night’s sleep."
~Stephen Bates, The Public Reviews
"this versatile and utterly engaging performer seamlessly becomes each of the characters he meets... with expertly accurate changes in vocals and physicality integrated smoothly within the flow of the piece... Another jewel in the Brother Wolf crown, this exciting and dramatic piece of theatre is a compelling hour that leaves the hearts of the audience racing. Along with 'A Christmas Carol - As told by Jacob Marley (Deceased)' and 'Fagin's Last Hour', Brother Wolf's current repertoire is a list of exciting, unmissable theatre for lovers of thrilling storytelling."
~Laura Bennett, Behind The Footlights
"Hyland’s performance is to be highly commended... raw and horrific... exhilarating"
~Emma Hardy, Plays To See
"Robert Louis Stevenson’s bogey novella, 'The Strange Case of Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde', has been performed on stage and screen in many guises but James Hyland’s one man telling of this famous story is, without a doubt, unsurpassed. From the moment Hyland makes his entrance he has the audience in the palm of his hands... The story is at times gruesome and utterly disturbing in its content and Hyland conveys this so convincingly throughout the entire hour he is on stage. He never falters as he moves between the characters of the story... taking on the mantle of each character with much skill and delivering a performance that will leave you totally mesmerised, if not a little uneasy... Hyland’s performance is astounding, faultless in his delivery and so chillingly powerful... If the opportunity should arise, do go and see this masterpiece of a solo performance, you may feel uncomfortable by its content but you will feel elated by its delivery in that you have seen a piece of theatre of the highest calibre. Highly recommended."
~Sue Cartwright, Sue's Musings