Starring Hitler As Jekyll And Hyde by The Finger Players showcases what theatre truly is and can be – a complete work of art that challenges and entertains its guests. Sinister, mesmerising and cruelly poetic, audience members were led down the labyrinth of politics, the human mind and the concept of power.
The two-hour long play written by writer-director Chong Tze Chien spoke about the world of art and how it mirrors xenophobia. Through the character of Jekyll the painter whom eventually becomes Hitler, we witnessed the downfall of him and his country. Swinging from one side of the story to the next, fragmented glimpses of the every day piece together to tell a tale that reeks of destruction and ugliness.
Held at Victoria Theatre, the play by The Finger Players is a text-heavy piece of work – filled with several metaphors, puns and references to the events of history. The language used was full of twists and turns; just like the characters themselves. Accompanied by simple yet genius use of mirrors, shadow puppetry as well as lights, the text was enhanced aesthetically through the staging and the actors without unnecessary distraction.
After all, the stage was kept mostly bare.
We particularly enjoyed the shadow puppetry. Even though it seemed simple and we lost sight of the actors’ facial expressions, their physicality were made larger than life through silhouettes. The interplay with light to illustrate their power play from moment to moment between characters were beautiful to watch.
The acting was superb. With a stellar ensemble cast of eight, the energy was kept at a high and that spurred the show forward. Every actor took on several roles and many successful switch characters in a span of 30 seconds. There was plenty of planned choreography that worked out well with smooth transitions from one to the other.
Despite some hiccups in lines and the music overlaying the voices too much, we appreciate the vocal projection and clear enunciation of most actors.
We would like to give a special mention to Daniel York for portraying Jekyll/Hitler with such conviction and charisma. The distinction between both personalities were clear as day with distinct voices and postures for each. He breathes life into his characters and somehow, he pulled us into his world effortlessly. We believed every word he said, and like the German citizens themselves, we were sold.
The show was artistically and skilfully done. However, that was not all there is to it.
What made the show so powerful was how relevant and scarily realistic the situation shown was. In this day and age where politics is dirtier than ever and where charisma might triumph over facts and humanity, this play shows the ugly face of human-beings. Human-beings that are inherently selfish and destroying themselves by hurting the rest of society. Human-beings blind to empathy and resolve. Human-beings that are cannibals of differences and intolerance.
Starring Hitler As Jekyll And Hyde by The Finger Players minced no words and brought us through a whole visceral journey of what we have or might become. In acknowledging this play, we acknowledge our darkest side and that left us plenty of things to think about.
Photography credit: Tuckys Photography