As nights grow longer and shadows deeper, the timeless tale of a man split between two identities comes alive once again. 

Vertigo Theatre is putting a spin on the classic horror, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in their season-opening play. However, while they hope for the production to be successful, their overall mission is to bring the community back together after years of being apart. 

Originally written as a novella by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, tells the story of Dr. Jekyll, a crazed scientist who is obsessed with bringing out the other side of himself through science. In turn, he creates Mr. Hyde, his evil alter ego with zero moral compass. 

Joe Perry, who plays Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde emits the true duality of the character in this production of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. PHOTO COURTESY OF FIFTH WALL MEDIA

The reworked production, presented at Vertigo Theatre, was written by Nick Lane after he suffered a serious accident. Lane pulls from his own experience with injury to rewrite Jekyll as a sympathetic character trying to heal himself while grappling with his inner demons.

“It’s a good horror piece. It’s a new adaptation that’s never been seen in North America,” said Artistic Director Jack Grinhaus. “It also has four actors on stage the whole time, playing music, doing physical work, not just textual work. We did bring a melange of people together that were really great.”

The theme for this season’s set of plays is metamorphosis and duality. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde highlights these messages, but the production team at Vertigo wants viewers to make a connection between the show and their day-to-day lives. 

Though Vertigo Theatre held its first full season last year, Grinhaus stated that 2023 is the first year that things are beginning to feel normal again. 

“The world’s already starting to get a little cooler and colder and scarier and darker. Here we are coming out of the pandemic, and trying to figure out who we are in this world today, and how are we going to impact the world around us,” said Grinhaus. 

By selling local food and drinks, as well as scouting talent within the city, Vertigo is largely focused on empowering the arts community in Calgary. Grinhaus said that their mission for this season is to uplift and bond the people through creative expression.

“This is a chance to come back as a group and sit and share a really great live experience together in a really exciting production,” said Grinhaus. 

Grant Tilly, Allison Lynch, Joe Perry and Daniel Fong are the only actors on stage at all times, required to sing, act, play music, switch characters and entertain the audience all at once. PHOTO COURTESY OF FIFTH WALL MEDIA

The North American premiere of this adaptation will be running from Oct. 5 to Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays to Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets start at $30 and are available for purchase on the Vertigo Theatre website

After the run of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Vertigo Theatre will be presenting multiple other productions, including heists, thrillers and then finally a mystery-comedy to close the season.

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