• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Doctor Faustus, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Purists may object, although the text that has come down to us is at best debatable, but Colin Teevan's enveloping of Christopher Marlowe around his own contemporary take on Faustus strikes me as faithful and clever.

It is also possible that some in his profession may take exception to director Dominic Hill's equating of backstage at the theatre with the inner sanctum of hell, but I suspect more will enjoy the joke.

With the dressing rooms brought onto the stage and every experience the Doctor lusts after exposed as a theatrical trick, this is a magical Faustus that employs every device in the armoury. Conjuring combines with choreography, burlesque with political satire, poetry with pantomime, in a staging that speaks to today in referencing bankers, media moguls and – more pertinently than could possibly have been designed – the Catholic Church, while preserving the timelessness of Marlowe's language and putting those memorable lines in a resonant context.

Kevin Trainor's journey as Faustus embraces that task as carefully as he sweeps the audience along in what is an outstanding performance. Siobhan Redmond's Mephistopheles is measured and delivered as if English is not her first language, a figure apart that suggests Marlene Dietrich or Mata Hari. But crucially this is an ensemble piece with Leah Brotherhead, Esther Ruth Elliot, Christopher Keegan and John Kielty putting in full shifts and Gary Lilburn memorably doubling the presidency, the papacy and the devil himself. The good and bad angels of Ann Louise Ross and Oliver Wilson are left oddly tangential as the narrative develops, and Redmond could be a little more menacing, but it is fascinating to consider how this production will translate to the Citizens from the crucible the of WYP's Quarry Theatre.

At Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, April 5-17

HHHH

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

143269