Holly Williams, WhatsOnStage

★★

"Alas, Kit Harington - Jon Snow of GoT - cannot carry this play. It's not for the want of trying: he does so much acting. So much. Not a line goes by without an accompanying grand gesture, hands twitching away; he minces and flops and broods, but his high declamatory delivery actually means speeches fail to register."

"They take full advantage of the obvious box office appeal of Harington. He's in tight pants for the vast swathes of it, shows off his bum, gets in the shower... of course, Harington has an amazing body, with the sort of sculpted abs that'd have a Ken doll reaching shyly for the towel. But if a glamorous female lead spent this much time in her bra, we'd definitely cry objectification."

"Doctor Faustus was meant to work like magic: hot actor, hot ticket. Instead it's just a hot mess."

Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph

★★

"There's little that's intrinsically right about Jamie Lloyd's revival, which has mystifyingly plumped for a modish version by Colin Teevan that was borderline forgettable when it premiered in Leeds three years ago and verges on being totally incomprehensible in this dismally conceived rehash."

"While he looks impressive, especially when his head leaks black oily slime, Harington's delivery stays stubbornly earthbound too. He's competent and clear but hardly a match for Marlowe's mighty line, lacking sufficient fervour and meaningful interiority."

"It says a lot that the most memorable moment of the night comes not with Faustus's midnight-hour finale but when Jenna Russell's melancholy Mephistopheles gives a tongue-in-cheek rendition of Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" after the interval. Anyone sensible would have got the hell out before that."

Michael Billington, The Guardian

★★

"Christopher Marlowe's play was once said to consist of 'a beginning, a muddle and an end'. But Colin Teevan's adaptation, which totally rewrites the farcical central acts, only compounds the confusion and Jamie Lloyd's production seems based on the idea that nothing succeeds like excess."

"The lead actor acquits himself well in the circumstances. Given that he is obliged to bare his buttocks and parade in bloodied boxer shorts, I was tempted to dub him "off-with-your-kit Harington". But he is much more than a TV icon and, when the production allows him, he gives us a sense of Faustus's flailing despair."

"Russell also lends Mephistopheles a commanding presence, greeting a good angel with a steely gaze and suggesting the character is driven by sexual, as well as spiritual, jealousy."

Ann Treneman, The Times

★★★★

"If the devil is in the detail, then he's very much centre stage here. The director Jamie Lloyd has invested so much in the detail, not to mention the devil, that if he did not shock then he wouldn't be happy. There is rape, sex and depravity a go go. Plus they even take a pop at Mary Berry, which may just be the eighth deadly sin."

"Harington noticeably relaxes once he gets to Vegas where he emits rock star sex-god energy in a way that makes you think of Jim Morrison. He struggles a bit at the start with Marlowe's language, but gets through it, helped immeasurably by Jenna Russell as Mephistopheles. She is simply brilliant in this part."

"It's all wildly OTT but I must admit that I rather liked it."

Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

★★★

"Game of Thrones heartthrob Kit Harington provides a big name draw for this outlandish new take on Christopher Marlowe's classic play... Which is a jolly good job, as without Harington's bug-eyed, blood covered, frequently topless presence, I suspect Jamie Lloyd's often baffling production might struggle in the risk-averse West End."

"At times it feels wilfully incoherent – though much about it is compelling. Harington is definitely a lot more than a chiselled chest – though if that's what you're here for, don't worry, you see plenty of it."

"The show is really stolen by alt musical star Jenna Russell as a sullen, sarcastic and terrifying Mephistopheles, with whom Faustus has a peculiarly intense, sexually charged relationship."

Paul Taylor, The Independent

★★★

"The news that the star gets to reveal a lot of his gym-toned body (he spends most of the second half in tight white underpants) can't have done any damage at the box office. An added layer to the satire or a case of having it both ways? The sheer amount of bodily fluids that fly around likewise suggest an over-effortful desire to be graphic."

"The production is infernally busy, but there are fine things. Tom Edden goes into a brilliant seizure of shape-shifting as he impersonates the Seven Deadly sins."

"Ambitious but incoherent, it's a show that embraces some of the good as well as the unfortunate meanings of 'diabolical'."

Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

★★

"Kit Harington is agile and energetic in this unapologetically messy take on Christopher Marlowe's classic play. He doesn't always make perfect sense of the passionate Elizabethan verse, but he has an undeniable presence."

"Director Jamie Lloyd makes no secret of his desire to attract new audiences to the theatre, and this production has his trademark visual richness. There's a huge amount going on. Often too much."

"Harington's fans will savour his performance's mercurial physicality. But for fans of the original Doctor Faustus, it'll seem to be a case of less Marlowe and more Marloverkill."


Doctor Faustus runs at the Duke of York's Theatre until 4 June.