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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Dr Faustus, Duke of York, ★★★★

The main attraction of Jamie Lloyd’s current theatrical event is casting Kit Harington, star of cult series ‘Game of Thrones’, as the troubled and utterly possessed ‘Dr Faustus’. Despite seeing an early preview of this blood showered, ink spitting, anarchic production, its one hell of a show!

Teased and tempted to sell his soul to the devil, the tormented Dr Faustus (Kit Harington), magician and failed academic, somehow manages to earn our deepest sympathy, before choosing his ultimate ending. But his journey to hell, accompanied by an almost unrecognizable Jenna Russell as the demonic servant ‘Mephistophilis’ is both disturbing and entertaining. The appearance of arch-demon ‘Lucifer’ (Forbes Masson) in his underwear, accompanied by a table fork, clearly shows that Jamie Lloyd’s tongue is well and truly in his cheek!

Beneath the ambiguous versions of the original tale (or true story of Dr Johann Georg Faust?), lie many truths; explored and exploited in this modern adaptation by Colin Teevan. Laced with current political references and added curses of modern life, it scarily brings the fire and brimstone battle, right up to date.

Accompanied by an equally horrific (in the best possible sense!) ensemble of sins and mythical ideologies, it really does question why Dr Faustus chooses his own final destiny, as opposed to accepting his saving ‘Grace’ offer by 'Wagner' (Jade Anouka).

Kit Harington’s spellbinding portrayal deserves all the accolades for carrying pretty much all of this complex play on his own shoulders, reduced only to his boxers, for much of the journey.  

Ben and Max Ringham’s amazing and atmospheric soundscape completes this dark tale of morality, that must have scared the hell out of Elizabethan audiences, as is it still does today.

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