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.
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
They're back, they're big – and they're still spectacularly boringfilm
Review: How to Build a Girlbooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let’s see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
- 3 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 4 Pornhub pleads with users to stop uploading videos of Brazil 'getting f**ked by Germany' in the World Cup
- 5 Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories