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Dr Faustus

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The latest offering at this brand new purpose built theatre is The tragical history of Dr Faustus by Third Party Productions, in which Marlowe’s play is treated as a modern satire or pantomime. As the publicity blurb says, ‘all in the words of Christopher Marlowe but not necessarily in the right order.’

The intellectual Dr Faustus (Nicholas Collett), obsessed with knowledge and having learned all there is to learn in the world, is now devoting his enormous intellect to the study of black magic and he follows the ancient ritual to summon up Lucifer, making cabalistic signs on the floor and uttering ridiculous incantations. After several tries, an elegant and charming person appears with a picnic basket containing bread, wine and a copy of the Guardian. This is Mephistophilis (Anthony Gleave) come to claim the Doctor’s soul on behalf of Lucifer.

Mephistophilis dispenses wine and food asks Faustus desires, but having successfully entered into necromancy, he has not much of an idea about what he wants - he can only think of worldly goods, food, wine and beautiful women. He abjures all goodness - “Let us dispose of God and go to Beelzebub”. Mephisto, after delivering a number or two on his guitar, magically produces Lucifer out of a bookcase. Lucifer is Shelley Atkinson, a very lovely red headed Irish female in outlandish ‘Goth’ style gear and she and Faustus sing and dance together "I’m looking for an Angel".

Faustus sells his soul quite happily in exchange for 20 years of self indulgence, and he races rapidly through all the deadly sins - wrath, pride, sloth, gluttony, lechery, envy and covetousness, but in the company of Mephisto and Lucy it passes in an instant and Faustus faces his fate. No amount of learning can save him from an eternity of hedonism.

This is poetry, black magic and human tragedy at its funniest with unexpected songs like "The Chinese Laundry Blues", dances, musical instrumentals, conjuring, ventriloquism, and political references all adding up to a highly digestible Satanic feast.

- Aline Waites

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