Paul Nicholas is a cheeky chappy with a winning smile.
His body of work to date has covered several bases, from
the artisic nakedness of the original production of Hair to
the ridiculous sight of him Dancing With The Captain
wearing a sailor's suit.
Along the way this multi-faceted performer has seemingly
entered the psyche of British life and has proved, not only
due to his pivotal role in TV hit Just Good Friends but
countless appearances treading the boards, that he is very
Yet, despite having already co-produced musicals with
Robert Stigwood, Nicholas seems to be putting his reputation on the line with Jekyll & Hyde.
As the brilliant doctor intent on tampering with his personality to create an alter-ego, Nicholas gets top billing in
a show he also co-produces. With Broadway success to
compare it to, if this Jekyll & Hyde
sucks - no matter
how impressive the staging - Nicholas carries the can.
But, as I said, he's a cheeky chappy who can seemingly do
no wrong. A strong fan base ensure that this show will get
a warm reception wherever it plays and Leslie Bricusse's
lyrics and Frank Wildhorn's music (the soaring melodies
are delivered with panache by the Gareth Williams led
band) are foot-tapping narrative-drivers if not exactly the
most memorable show tunes you've ever heard.
Nicholas, of course, is not alone on stage. A cast of 20 belt
out the tunes and Shona Lindsay manages to overcome a
tortuous existence as Jekyll's fiancé by doing a fine job
singing her own songs. Then there is Louise Dearman,
who stands out of the pack with her tremendous stage
presence and great voice.
This production is, like Nicholas, a bit too bright and
breezy. For a gothic tale and even with Charle's Camm's
atmospheric set there are times when it's just a bit too
light, or daft (the transformation from Jekyll to Hyde
springs to mind).
The best superlative to use in conjunction with UK Production's take on this worldwide hit is nice. That's no bad
thing, because it makes for a nice night out. But it's not