Hyde and seek with the good doctor

Ealing Times: Marc Howden-Smith (Jekyll/Hyde) Marc Howden-Smith (Jekyll/Hyde)

IS he a man or a monster? That’s the big question posed by Rickmansworth Players’ latest offering, Jekyll And Hyde The Musical, which opens to audiences next week.

And one woman who may well know the answer is Chesham actress Amanda Aldridge, who plays Dr Jekyll’s fiancée Emma Carew in this musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale.

Amanda, who has taught drama for the past three years at Chesham High School, joins the Rickmansworth Players for the fourth time.

In recent years, she has taken on the roles of Mrs Sowerberry in Oliver!, Ado Annie in Oklahoma! and Elvira in Blithe Spirit.

Amanda, who also studied performing arts at Amersham and Wycombe College, describes the show as “pulse pounding, pacy and cleverly done, with a host of strong characters.”

Speaking about her character, the 32 year old actress explains: “She’s socially elite, very graceful and definitely gives the show more of a romantic edge.

"The show is pulse pounding, pacy, cleverly done, with a host of strong characters."

Amanda Aldridge

“Emma is also the kind of woman who understands just how important Jekyll’s work is to him, but as he experiments more and more, she realises just how far they have grown apart.

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“Most of the time she sees only Jekyll, but near the end she finally sees him as Hyde, which is quite a shock to her!”

Amanda stars opposite another seasoned Rickmansworth Players actor, Marc Howden-Smith, as Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde.

She says: “He plays his parts extremely well. Considering it’s such a physical role, Marc really rises to the challenge.”

Completing the trio of leading roles is Watford actress Julie Lilley. She plays Lucy, a prostitute rescued by Jekyll from a life of sin, who later succumbs to the uncontrollable passion of the animalistic Mr Hyde.

In the director’s chair for the first time is Sarah Chiappi, who Amanda describes as “just fantastic”.

She adds: “Sarah has devoted so much of her time to this and it really shows.”

The musical, which opened on Broadway in 1997 and ran until 2001, also features a selection of “real showstoppers”.

Composed by Frank Wildhorne with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, the musical numbers include This Is The Moment, Murder, Murder and Once Upon A Dream.

The Rickmansworth Players present Jekyll and Hyde The Musical, from Tuesday, November 11 to Saturday, November 15, 7.30pm, at Watersmeet, Rickmansworth. Matinee Saturday 2.30pm. Tickets: 0844 745 1944 or www.rickmansworth-players.org.uk

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