The acclaimed Scots actor Forbes Masson is to make his first appearance at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre in 20 years, in a new version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic story, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Masson will play the titular roles in the Scottish premiere in January 2024 of Reading Rep Theatre’s production, Jekyll & Hyde.

Written by Gary McNair and directed by Michael Fentiman, the play has been praised by critics, with The Guardian describing it as "brilliantly bewitching" and The Times as "spine-shivering".

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Masson, an associate artist with the RSC and National Theatre of Scotland, has appeared extensively on stage and on TV. His theatre work includes numerous Shakespeare productions and on the small screen he has been seen in everything from The Crown to The High Life, Shetland and EastEnders. He is currently writing The High Life - The Musical with Alan Cumming and Johnny McKnight for the National Theatre of Scotland.

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He said: "I’m really excited to be coming back to the Lyceum again. It will be the first time I have appeared there in over 20 years. The last play I did there was The Breathing House by Peter Arnott, directed by Kenny Ireland, back in 2003”.

He added: “It’s great to be working with the brilliant director, Michael Fentiman, once more. I first worked with him at the RSC, where he assisted Michael Boyd on As You Like It.

The Herald: David Greig, pictured at the Royal LyceumDavid Greig, pictured at the Royal Lyceum (Image: Stuart Armitt/ Royal Lyceum Theatre)“I then played Katherine in his amazing RSC production of The Taming of the Shrew and he also directed my comedy, Crackers, at the Belgrade, Coventry.

“I can’t wait to get started on Gary McNair’s thrilling one-person version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic classic and I’m looking forward to spending time in Scotland again."

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Masson's appearance in The Breathing House remains a fond memory for McNair.

He said: “It’s a real moment for me personally to have a show on the main stage at the Lyceum. It’s one of those full-circle things.

"The first time I ever went to the Lyceum to see a show was to see Forbes in The Breathing House. That was 20 years ago and he really wowed me on stage.

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"I’ve been a big fan of his work on television. I was a 17-year-old school kid who loved The High Life. The Breathing House was my first experience of the Lyceum, and I’ve always wanted to do something there.

The Herald: Gary McNairGary McNair (Image: Royal Lyceum Theatre)"And, as the circle would complete itself, 20 years later my first piece at the Lyceum will now be starring Forbes Masson and I’m absolutely delighted by that, by the symmetry and synchronicity of that. So, a few dreams come true all at once…”

The Royal Lyceum's artistic director, David Greig, said he had long wanted a Jekyll and Hyde on the venue's stage.

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"I was really thrilled when I saw that Gary McNair, who’s one of my favourite Scottish playwrights, had done a one-person version of that story – a very good version as well – which premiered at the Reading Rep Theatre last year. 

“Forbes taking on the role is the most outstanding casting - and I’m delighted he has agreed to come and light up our winter nights this January with his premiere in the role. Forbes is one of Scotland's most loved stage actors, he's compelling and charismatic - it's great to have him back in Scotland and it’s going to be electric to see him play these iconic roles".

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In a review a year ago, with Audrey Brisson in a one-woman role, The Guardian spoke of the production's innovative staging and added: “It introduces deeper ethical questions around goodness, friendship and guilt at the opening and picks up on them at the end, more as a punchline than with serious exploration. At 70 minutes, the production does not probe Stevenson’s story too deeply. Its focus is in the retelling and this is where the thrills and spills lie”.

Jekyll & Hyde, The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, January 13-27, 2024. Box office: 0131 248 4848;