Plays involving famous figures, both historical and literary, seem to be as popular amongst writers as they are with audiences. There’s something hugely appealing about seeing Dali bantering with Freud, Pope Joan getting drunk at a dinner party or Benjamin Britten asking advice of W. H. Auden. David Davalos’ play turns his attention on Doctor Faustus, Martin Luther and Hamlet.
Written for Exeunt
There’s a lovely irony to the Globe making Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus part of their The Word Is God season. Faustus is a demonic tale and one in which words, books, can be tools of evil, can lead you terribly astray.
Marlowe’s best known play is packaged here in a marvellously batty production by director Matthew Dunster; though it sometimes plays more like a cautionary children’s tale than chilling psychological tragedy, it is as enticing and entertaining as the devious spirits that Faustus follows blindly into hell.
Written for What’s On Stage – 19/1/10
Doctor Faustus at Stratford Circus until Saturday 6 February.
Men stand in artfully geometric lines swathed in 50s Macs and stylish trilbys. We could be down on the waterfront but instead we are plunged into a sexy, clubbing version of Christopher Marlowe’s hellish play, Doctor Faustus.
The tale of Faustus selling his soul to the devil, partying like a fiend for four and 20 years and then finally paying the price is one of the best known in the English speaking world. So it is baffling that a production that has such a consummate visual style could get the telling of this epic tale so amiss. And yet it does.