Interview with… Mel Keech | Director The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Group Eight Theatre Company, based in Hackleton, bring Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” to Hackleton Village Hall from 10 May 2018. We’ve had a chat with Director Mel Keech as the group go into their last week of rehearsals…


Tell us a little bit about your production of Noah Smith’s adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The play is set in various locations in London in 1888, we have tried to keep a fairly dark and minimalistic feel to the whole play.


The first stage production of the show took place within a year of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella being published – what do you think makes it such a brilliant story for the theatre?

I believe everyone likes to be thrilled a little, even in those days, to experience something a little out of their imaginations. Also, the way the novella has been written it has allowed the playwrights a certain amount of freedom with their writings. This version gives Noah Smith’s take on it with his little spin on the workings of Jekyll’s mind.


What have been the biggest challenges to this production?

Thinking outside the limitations of the stage, setting umpteen scene changes which are carried out by Shelly and Stoker in front of the audience. Costumes, obviously, needed them to be right – as for the cast – well, they have all proven their abilities to me in this one!


What inspired you to direct the play?

Honestly, I’ve been into this type of Genre as long as I can remember, and that’s a while, not only reading but writing and drawing Gothic Fantasy. I would have loved to have done Dracula, or Frankenstein, but when I read this one I saw the potential straight away for our group.


You’ve been with Group Eight for quite a while now – what have been your favourite roles with the group?

Gosh, that’s a difficult one! Every single part has had its own moments. I guess I would have to say taking the lead in the BoyFriend – was considerably younger then though. The challenge of playing Milady and Roquefort in the Three Musketeers Pantomime was so much fun. And of course, The Dame in the 12 days of Christmas, although that was exhausting too – lost count of the costume changes in that one!


And finally, what are you most looking forward to the audiences experiencing in this show? 

Something a little different, a little darker than normal, watching them feel those little chills that even I’m experiencing with it already – thanks to our amazing cast.


The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Noah Smith takes place at Hackleton Village Hall from 10-12 May 2018 at 7.45pm. Tickets available from Hackleton stores, The White Hart Hackleton and The Spread Eagle Hackleton. Or for more information and tickets call 07956783938