WHILE love and hate are common themes in musical theatre, exploring the deeper psyche of humanity is a rarity.

Seldom does a show get under the skin in quite the way Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical does, as the audience is led on a journey through Victorian London’s grimy streets and scientific explorations.

Dr Henry Jekyll is inspired to find a cure for insanity, through isolating evil, having witnessed his father’s decline.

But when his plea to carry out tests on a living patient are refused by the hospital board, he seeks the answers he needs within the confines of his own laboratory.

In the dual title role Peter Norris is phenomenal; from the gentle, tender beginnings of Lost in The Darkness to the final Confrontation, he switches between characters with absolute ease.

There are no major effects used to enhance the transformations - simple indications like an untied ponytail and shirt collar, and a lowering of the voice, but it’s Peter’s own physicality and posture which makes the portrayal so powerful.

Laura Corney as Jekyll’s fiancée Emma Carew is strong in support of her love while casting aside society’s expectations, and her warm semi-operatic tones suit this role well.

And Robin Knipe as Sir Danvers Carew was a gentle presence throughout, guiding his daughter and dissuading his friend Jekyll from his pursuits.

David Hulme, as Jekyll’s friend, lawyer and advisor John Utterson, completed the quartet for His Work And Nothing More, a complex piece which was well presented.

Katie Cowburn as prostitute Lucy Harris is less overtly sexual than others I’ve seen, but her wide-eyed, comparative innocence was an interesting change and contrasted to the wild-eyed, hunted fear she faces later in the tale.

Her crystal clear vocals made the most of her solos, and were beautifully balanced against Laura’s soprano in their duet In His Eyes.

The vulgarities of human nature were brought to the fore by the supporting cast of toffs; Damien Marsh, Lesley Haworth, Paul Heyes, Barry Phillips, Bob Cleeve and Trevor Lord.

At the other end of the classes, Maria Masterman was in fine saucy form commanding the action at the Red Rat - under the control of a menacing Spider, played by Leo Burke.

Under Anne Grogan’s direction this is a real company triumph for CPCAODS. Every cast member played their role, from the grubby paupers, pimps and prostitutes to the hoi polloi, and the company numbers - drilled by David Hulme and musical director Michael Pinder, with Lindsay Pollard’s choreography - were superb.

There was clever use of a great-looking split-level set, built by chairman Brian Haworth and team.

Sound was clear and well balanced, although in the front row or two parts of the solos were lost under the orchestra - but friends sat elsewhere said they heard everything. Spectacular lighting effects really enhanced the moods, with some precision timing throughout.

With sell-out performances, and the show’s dramatic conclusion drawing sections of the audience to their feet - what greater testament can there be to the society’s work?