Star steps out of his comfort zone

Marti Pellow in 'Jekyll and Hyde' at the Alhambra Theatre: pic credit: Simon Fowler
Marti Pellow in 'Jekyll and Hyde' at the Alhambra Theatre: pic credit: Simon Fowler
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MARTI Pellow must be getting a taste for playing evil characters - though malevolent Hyde, well-meaning Jekyll’s alter ego, is a far cry from his earlier venture into sin in The Witches of Eastwick.

Musical theatre usually has a dark thread, but Jekyll and Hyde, adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous story, hardly has any bright ones. Not only does the lighting rarely rise above shadowy gloom; a single lively dance number in act one provides the only relief from unremitting despondency.

As musicals go, it’s not the most memorable, though the production is polished and most of the performances are crisply professional, if not outstanding. Sabrina Carter is the most engaging; Lucy the tart with a heart has a great voice, plenty of attitude, and an edge of vulnerability.

In this context the doubling of minor characters carries meaning beyond economical use of cast members. The female ensemble play both street girls and catty society ladies, and Jacob Chapman doubles as camp Lord Savage and creepy Spider, underlining the show’s theme of hypocrisy, and good and evil in everyone.

Marti Pellow himself seems out of his comfort zone. He puts his heart and soul into the big songs, but his Jekyll is a one-note performance, all unrelieved intensity and passion. As Hyde he’s much the same, but with mussed hair, a fur-collared cape and a sinister, violent edge.

His many fans will no doubt flock to Sheffield’s Lyceum to see him. Jekyll and Hyde runs till April 30.