Monday, January 11, 2010

Jekyll & Hydes Played for Laughs at Caldwell

Caldwell Theatre Company dons a collective lampshade for its second play of the season, “Chemical Imbalance.”

Continuing through Feb, 7 at 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, “Chemical Imbalance” is a thoroughly silly farce by Lauren Wilson, based on “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr., Hyde,” published in 1886.

There must be a lot of split personalities out there, because “Jekyll and Hyde” has been the subject of more than 120 movies alone, as well as countless songs, musicals, essays and scholarly studies.

There is absolutely nothing scholarly about “Chemical Imbalance.” Director Clive Cholerton warns us up front that if we are looking for serious meaning, we have come to the wrong show.

“Chemical Imbalance” is a showcase for Tom Wahl in the lead role of Jekyll/Hyde.

Carbonell Award-winner Wahl has played some fine serious roles, but here he goes about the serious business of being funny.

It’s almost as if the role was written expressly for Wahl, down to his thinning hair, which is mentioned pointedly more than once.

What hair he has Wahl uses in his transformation from kindly medical Dr. Henry Jekyll into crazed homicidal maniac, Mr. Hyde.

Wahl musses his fringe of hair, goes through Elvis-like gyrations and stealthily inserts gnarled false teeth to become evil, stooped Mr. Hyde.

Jekyll/Hyde is not the only good-bad equation in this flat-out farce.

Tiffany-Leigh Moskow does her share of scenery-chewing as bad seed Penelope and her good-girl twin sister Calliope.

Diminutive Moscow is quite believable as a 10-year-old girl, but in reality she is a graduate of Syracuse University and her credits include Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. It is bad girl Penelope’s blood that Dr. Jekyll needs for his evil potion, but she proves an elusive subject.

The twins’ fussy, fashionable mother, Lady Throckmortonshire, is played by John Felix in elaborate drag. Felix is funny regardless of costume, but resplendent in costume designer Alberto Arroyo’s giant, outrageous hats, Felix is a stitch, especially when the Lady mistakenly downs the potion.

Special notice is deserved by Erin Joy Schmidt in the dual roles as Jekyll’s sister Ambrosia and a moustache-twitching constable.

Wynn Harmon is pleasingly goofy as Jekyll’s vacant best friend Xavier, and Amy Elane Anderson has bawdy fun with her push-up bra as would-be fiancée of Jekyll, Rosamunda Dewthistle.

No farce would be complete without a couple of knowing house servants, and Lindsey Forgey and Laura Turnbull ably fill the bill.

Great theater? Nah. Good laughs? Yes. At Caldwell Theatre it is decidedly comedy tonight.

Tickets are $34-$55. Call 561-241-7432 or go to

No comments:

Post a Comment