Jekyll & Hyde (Old Vic Theatre)

Jekyll & Hyde (Old Vic Theatre)

I wrote this for The Stage’s Critic Search: a review of Drew McOnie’s dance production Jekyll & Hyde at the Old Vic Theatre.

Everybody knows the plot of Jekyll and Hyde. Jekyll is Hyde. In adapting Stevenson’s fable for a wordless dance production, choreographer/director Drew McOnie has found a way to breathe new life into the old story.

The drama is vividly drawn using Matthew Bourne’s technique of double casting to explore aspects of character. Daniel Collins dances Jekyll with goofy lightness dissolving into tremulous fear, while Tim Hodges’s Hyde oozes menace.

The florally festooned pas de deuxes between Collins’s Jekyll and Rachel Muldoon’s sparkling Dahlia give way to gore and terror as Hyde starts to overcome Jekyll and the bodies pile up. It’s not for the squeamish. Swan Lake it is not, unless someone was strangling all the swans.

Grant Olding’s eclectic score emphasises the splits in personality, with scintillating jazz for Jekyll and heavy electric guitar music for Hyde. Soutra Gilmour’s set design evokes a creaky 1950s Waterloo where evil deeds dissolve into the smog.

Jekyll & Hyde is the McOnie Company’s first collaboration with the Old Vic under the new Artistic Direction of Matthew Warchus. It’s an ambitious and commanding entrée that has drawn new audiences to dance theatre in its too-short run. McOnie says “I want people to walk away feeling terrified, thrilled and a little bit horny.”

The show’s powerful physical effect on the audience – gasps, intakes of breath, a standing ovation – suggests he’s succeeded in at least some of these aims. It should transfer immediately to terrify, thrill and arouse a wider, perhaps unsuspecting, audience.


A place in history: problematisation and the jazz practitioner

A place in history: problematisation and the jazz practitioner


By Steve Tromans

“Once you become aware of this force for unity of life, you can’t ever forget it. It becomes part of everything you do.” – John Coltrane [1]

“Nothing ends, since nothing has begun, but everything is transformed.” – Gilles Deleuze [2]

"This force for unity of life... becomes part of everything you do." - John Coltrane “This force for unity of life… becomes part of everything you do.” – John Coltrane

Nothing stays the same. Even the most durable structures change over time. Change is inevitable and transformation an ongoing process without end. Think of your own corporeality, or the events of your life to date, and you have two highly personalised examples of the inevitability of change. Think of the history of this music we call jazz and you have over a century of transformation to examine in broader or finer detail.

One important consideration, however, when investigating transformation at larger or smaller temporal scales, is the manner in which a given practice (such…

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I don’t wear poppies, and this image perfectly encapsulates why

Another angry woman

Content warning: this post discusses death and war

The Royal British Legion tweeted this image of a fundraising event. Look at it.


In the image, four children aged around twelve stand, holding gigantic plastic poppies. Three of the children wear t-shirts saying “Future Soldier”.

The poppy was once a symbol to remind us of the senseless massacre of millions upon millions of people in muddy fields far away from home. The poppy was supposed to say never again to the horrors of a spat between politicians murdering a generation. What it is now is a symbol of militarism, and standard used to recruit children to don a uniform and go off and get themselves killed. It means the opposite of what it is supposed to.

I admit I’d stopped wearing the red poppy about six or seven years ago. I am not sure if it was because my eyes opened to…

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“But if there weren’t any experts would there be any fakers?”

A friend once showed a Picasso to Picasso, who said no it was a fake.
The same friend brought in another would-be Picasso from another source and Picasso said that too was a fake.
Then yet another from another source. Also fake, said Picasso.
But Pablo, said his friend, I watched you paint that with my own eyes.
Haha, said Picasso, I can paint false Picassos as well as anybody.
— from F for Fake (Orson Welles)

Hi, I’m not posting here, but…

…I am here:

Daft art criticism project (current, Jan 2015 – Dec 2015):

Daft haiku project (2 years from 2012-14):

Twitter: @ajdeho

Some music:


And with The House Band and Trelawney

Other bits and pieces:






— various essays on goodreads