THEATRE: Hyde; Dundee Rep
Monday 21 October 1996
Arnott - whose public absence from the scene for the last six years says much about the Scots commissioning process - has set his psychosexual nightmare scenario squarely in the back closes of Edinburgh by night, exploiting the inherent theatricality such rich geographical pickings can bring to a piece. Steve McNicol's flamboyant Hyde literally cruises the streets with gay abandon, flaunting his deviance rather than shrouding its dubious light beneath respectability's ever-present bushel.
This is to be found instead in the drawing-room talking shops frequented by Andrew Dahneyer's Jekyll and other apparently enlightened types. Their hunger for knowledge begins and ends with the hot-air theorising and empty rhetoric of the privileged set who take on the mantle of explorers because they have nothing better to do.
The first half of Hamish Glen's production is as faithful to the horror / thriller genre as it can be, moving back and forth in time, dropping clues, then picking them up from other angles at crucial moments in the plot. Hyde is woozily filmic in this way, and sets up a brilliantly scary atmosphere, especially with the symbolic graffiti smeared and scrawled on to every available surface so as to beam down on to the action with iridescent foreboding. Never has the phrase "written in blood" seemed more appropriate.
This atmosphere, though, is never fully put to the test in the slightly muddled second half. Hyde's message about society's outsider - from junkie to Jew to bisexual - is clear enough, but when "good" ends and "evil" begins is never clearly defined, as the twin personalities overlap and then supersede each other without ever seeming to care about what they're doing.
The action appropriately takes place on twin multi-tiered revolves, which, as they suitably squeak through every laborious inch of their circumference, seem to delve further and further into the murky canyons of the mind we all have the potential to unleash. Arnott's argument is as black and white as that. Without a doubt though, it falls firmly on the dark side. And that's where truth lurks.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Man cooked alive with 12,000 pounds of tuna
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark finale review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
Game of Thrones season 5: Episode 4 preview clip presents the Sand Snakes as HBO reveals new titles and synopses
The Visit: Watch terrifying trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia