Hyde & Seek

Aug 19 2014 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩  On a Hyding to something

C venues – C (venue 34), moved from C Nova. Wed 30 July – Mon 25 August 2014

There’s a little bit of Mr Hyde in all of us. That’s the compelling notion Michael Daviot explores in his one-man show Hyde & Seek at C Venues.

Publicity shot for Daviot in Hyde & Seek. Photo credit: Robert Cassidy

Publicity shot for Daviot in Hyde & Seek. Photo credit: Robert Cassidy

And there may be more in Daviot than most, we see, as he weaves three strands into one striking performance. There’s Jekyll and Hyde, one of the most fascinating literary creations. There’s his creator, Robert Louis Stevenson. And there’s Daviot himself, civil servant turned thespian.

Daviot slips seamlessly from one persona to another, his accents and inflections noting the difference along with his body language and, of course, his words.

Ah yes, the words. Reading Stevenson is a pleasure, but hearing the writer’s words brought to life by a skilled reader, a person who understands his psyche and finds resonances with his own life – that’s something else.

Daviot has been fascinated with the works of Stevenson since he was a small boy, gifted nightmares by the illustrations of Mervyn Peake in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. His connection grew stronger through the years as Daviot discovered and made some very personal links with the man.

It’s 15 years since Daviot’s play about Stevenson was something of a Fringe sensation, and while he returns to the source here, he’s not hiding behind the character of the Victorian novelist and poet. He’s doing the opposite in this self-penned show, using Stevenson to expose his own core, the joys and terrors, the nightmares dreamt and lived.

Daviot has studied himself as he’s studied Stevenson, but the only mask he wears is that of Mr Hyde at the start of the piece – there’s no doubt he’s telling the truth about himself. In doing so, he may also be uncovering truths about the audience, about how we all have a Mr Hyde within us, as Jekyll ever travelled with Hyde.

Hyde & Seek is undoubtedly an ‘actorly’ piece, and if you’ve little time for ‘a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon a stage’, this may not be for you. But if you’re interested in duality and transformation, memory and identity, humanity and the soul, Daviot’s show is nigh unmissable. It’s not about self-indulgence, it’s about sharing ideas, and the charismatic Daviot is a superb communicator.

He also plays a mean tin whistle. But I’ll let you discover that for yourself.

Running time 1 hour
C Venues, Chambers Street CH1 1HT (venue 34)
Wed 30 July – Mon 25 August 2014
Daily: 20:50
Details and tickets: tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/hyde-seek-1

Peppermint Muse website: www.peppermintmuse.co.uk

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