Arts(cameotheather)

Photo Credit: Jason Jalufka

Robert Louis Stevenson’s quote, “All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil,” echoes in the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, an examination of the human condition and the passion of a devoted scientist willing to risk his own life for the sake of mankind.

Last Sunday, the Cameo Theatre presented this month’s featured performance, “Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical.” The theatre has housed musical greats such as Louis Armstrong, B.B. King, Stan Getz and even Metallica.

The musical is based on the novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886. For the most part, the plot of the musical is similar to the original story, although it does add a few more murders. In the musical, Jekyll, mourning his father’s deteriorating health, vows to find a cure to rid mankind of evil. He believes that by creating a potion that separates the good and evil in humans he would achieve this.

Despite being ridiculed and ultimately rejected when he proposes his idea to the Board of Governors of St. Jude’s Hospital, he is convinced by his best friend, John Utterson, that he must “Pursue the Truth.”

The events that transpire throughout the night cause Jekyll to realize that he must perform the experiment on himself despite his own uncertainty of success; this ultimately leads to his own demise.

Although it is never stated outright, the musical appears to take place sometime in the late 1800s, and the cast’s detailed costumes follow the theme nicely.

Dr. Jekyll’s lab was the most intricate part of the set. Complete with a microscope, flickering candles and assorted chemicals in beakers, the lab makes Jekyll appear to be well equipped to make a mind altering concoction.

Although a fairly minimalistic set was used for the rest of the stage, it certainly wasn’t “lacking” in any way. From the “Façade” number and its subsequent reprises in which the stage was filled with chanting townsfolk twirling umbrellas in unison, to the highpoint of “Confrontation,” when Jekyll realizes that he and Hyde are one in the same and can never be separated, there was always an appropriate number of props.

This is also where Roy Bumgarner, a veteran performer at the Cameo, gave his best performance as both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, essentially performing a “solo duet.” With the use of dramatic flashing lights and alternating vocal styles, both the excruciating anguish from Dr. Jekyll and the primal wrath of Mr. Hyde could be easily distinguished from one another.

Corina Zars, who plays prostitute Lucy Harris in the musical, also delivered an outstanding performance alongside Bumgarner, with great vocals heard in “A New Life” and “No One Knows Who I Am.”

Carrie Carpenter, who played Dr. Jekyll’s fiancée, Emma Carew, brought another dimension to the story by representing the high-class society that Jekyll was associated with prior to meeting Emma and transforming to Mr. Hyde. Her lovely soprano range contrasted nicely with Bumgarner’s strong tenor in the duet “Take Me as I Am.” Although there were some audio issues with her microphone during the show, it was only a minor distraction.

The rest of the cast members provided a solid foundation for the plot of the story, especially in the chant numbers.

The entire show lasted two and a half hours, including a 15 minute intermission between acts. After the show, the performers went to meet, take photos and interact with the audience, which added to the fun experience at the Cameo.

The Cameo Theatre is located at 1123 E Commerce Street and will continue showing “Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical,” until September 29, with shows on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for students/military, $33 for adults and $26 for seniors. This particular show does contain some slightly racy numbers that may offend some audience members, such as “Bring on the Men,” which features scantily clad performers playing the roles of prostitutes dancing in a pub.

Related Stories

More from Jason Jalufka/ Contributing Writer

Editorial Board

At the University of Missouri, real change happened — but only when loss of university revenue was threatened. Missouri student…

More In Arts_and_life

Jose Chapa Web Editor

Living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) has been a very difficult challenge for me. I, and the 30,000 other people in…