Here we have two single-hander pieces, both relating to classic Nineteenth century literature, they are similar in execution but intrinsically different in style and effect.
I thought this to be the superior of the two pieces. It felt more authentic, the tone more consistent, and the acting more measured and controlled. I regret I’ve since lost the programme, so am unaware of the actress’s name, but she did a fine job in the eponymous role. She was believable, emotive, and with a clear deep understanding of her character. The sliding from the central monologue into extracts from Austen’s most memorable works, and the between characters within said, was done smoothly and in a manner with allowed for far a greater range and depth to be added to what might otherwise be a slightly one note piece.
‘The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde’
This time a direct monologue adaptation of a Victorian novel, this piece sadly does fall a little short, both in comparison to the source material and the piece that preceded it.
The actor here does have moments of great emotive effect while in the Jekyll-personal but these are alas overshadowed by the performance as Hyde. While Hyde is meant to be a complete and alarming villain, the portrayal here does feel rather over-the-top and takes it a little too far into the territory of the comedic. There’s something that might call ‘Sméagolesque’ about the characterisation, to the point where I felt it undermined the drama. That said, the actor was able to differentiate the two personas very distinctly, he just failed to exorcise the same moderation and conservations in his performance that his predecessor did to such great effect.
Both pieces made good use of a very small space, and the silhouette portrait employed at the beginning of both was a nice little device which did much to establish the tone and atmosphere was the performance.
It was the first show I saw while at the Fringe and, as such, is likely to remain significant to me for a while in spite of any issues or reservations I might have with it.