For 2 1/2 hours, Dr. Vincent Scarpinato and Jason Chaney went toe to toe in the battle between good and evil, and in the end, those in attendance at Portsmouth Little Theatre’s performance of Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde, Friday night were the winners.
I have seen my friend Vincent Scarpinato in a half a dozen performances, and what is scary, besides the premise of the story, is that he gets better every time. Scarpinato, as the kind, determined and greatly misunderstood Dr. Henry Jekkyl is able to convey the troubled soul of a man torn between his desire to learn what makes us tick, the split personality if you will, and the possibility of ultimate destruction.
Jason Chaney as Mr. Edward Hyde, is so delightful as the evil side of Dr. Jekkyl, that we actually giggle as he commits his murders. “Devlish” is the best way to describe Chaney’s performance.
The supporting cast is extraordinary and, as always, I like to pick out a couple of performances that stood out to me. Devan Flannery as lady Hermione Savage, was in the scene, even when she was not a featured part of that scene, because she is great at reacting to what is going on around her.
Olivia Morgan as Lucy Harris, the main attraction at “The Red Hat,” was, on the surface, a vamp of vamps, Jessica Rabbit in the flesh, but underneath beat the heart of a kind and loving person who was more of a victim than a sex object. Any review of Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde would not be possible without talking about my favorite scene stealer, Julie Buckler as Guinevere, Manageress of “The Red Hat.” Just as in South Pacific, her character was bigger than life, and it takes someone with the talent of Julie to pull it off.
I was again amazed at the efficient set design by director Eric Armstrong, and how quickly they could move from one scene to the next. If I was to offer any criticism at all, it would be that again intermission is way too long. But that would be a stretch for me because Joyce and I, obviously Scarpinato fans, really enjoyed the entire show.
Another highlight of the evening was the beautiful duet of Scarpinato and McKenzie Maple as his love interest, Emma Carew, in the song “Take Me As I Am,” and Scarpinato’s soliloquy – “This Is The Moment.” The music of Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse was outstanding and again, as we have come to always expect, conductor and pianist Linda Tieman with Uriah VanDyke on the synthesizer, kept the music in the forefront of the format of the show.
As a sidelight, I have to mention the great soprano voices in the ensemble. They were spot on.
There is so much talent in this area, and PLT is able to bring it to the stage for us all to enjoy. If you didn’t see Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde on the first weekend, mark your calendar. There will be two performances on Oct. 29. One at 2 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m. at the Little Theatre on Lawson Street in Portsmouth. It’s frighteningly entertaining.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.