Split personality is the key to Mark’s Jekyll and Hyde adaptation

Jekyll and Hyde

Jekyll and Hyde - Credit: Archant

As if taking on the role of an iconic literary figure with split personalities and demonic tendencies was not enough, Mark Waghorn plays other characters as well in two performances next week.

The Company of Ten’s upcoming production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, features local actor Mark playing not only the mild-mannered doctor and his evil alter ego but also a host of other characters.

Mark, who adapted the story for the stage, is in fact the only player in the hour-long show, which commanded rave reviews last summer, both at the Maltings Arts Theatre in July and at the Camden Fringe Festival in August.

In Victorian London, a Scotland Yard inspector and Dr Henry Jekyll’s lawyer recount the dramatic events that unfolded at the doctor’s laboratory the night before, involving a potent formula and a sinister figure named Edward Hyde.

Although the story is well-known Mark’s solo performance – directed by well-known local actor and director Jo Emery – aims to explore some of the original novella’s less famiiar themes.

He said: “Most people know the basic ‘good versus evil’ aspect of the story but what really intrigues me is the way the respectable Dr Jekyll becomes seduced by the possibility of an existence free from any moral restraint, while still being conscious of the horror of it.”

Mark first had the idea of turning Stevenson’s tale into a one-man show more than 20 years ago, when he took part in a writing workshop at The Actors Centre in London. But unsure of whether it could succeed, he left the script to gather dust in a drawer until he met Jo Emery last year.

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He explained: “After I told Jo about it, she asked to read it, then convinced me of its potential. It just needed the right collaborator: someone to give an objective view, bounce ideas off and help knock it into shape through rehearsal.”

Performances take place in the Abbey Theatre Studio at 8pm next Thursday, April 23, and Friday, April 24. To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.