It's one the great thrillers: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Robert Louis Stevenson novel about the Victorian doctor who mixes up a potion in his laboratory, drinks it and turns into the evil Mr. Hyde. Stevenson's yarn has been adapted many times before — movies starring John Barrymore, Fredric March and Spencer Tracy; the Frank Wildhorn musical; even Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor — and now Jeffrey Hatcher tries his hand at it in a staging by freeFall Theatre.
Artistic director Eric Davis says Hatcher's 2008 adaptation is perfect for Halloween. "It is a smart, sometimes funny, always suspenseful evening that is just the kind of forward-thinking theater that we want to be doing. I hope audiences will come with a group of friends or make it a date night. Hatcher is a master of making things 'scary' onstage, which is no easy thing.''
In this version, the actor playing Jekyll never plays Hyde, who is portrayed by the other actors. The cast includes (from left) Gavin Hawk, Chris Jackson, Meg Heimstead, Peter Robel, John Lombardi and Roxanne Fay.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde opens Friday and runs through Nov. 7 at the Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $29-$35. Preview tonight ($20). (727) 498-5205; freefalltheatre.com.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic