Dr Faustus

Christopher Marlowe, adapted by Nick Warburton
C Central

Poor Kit Marlowe can't catch a break. Last year there was a company from Spain commiting atrocities against The Jew of Malta, and this year Shakespeare's contemporary is being kicked around by this decidedly amdram production of Dr Faustus.

Given that the only real failing of Dr Faustus (the text, not the character) is that at times it drags, this hour-long adaptation, rid of the usual three-hour running time, should have tripped along at a merry pace. Instead, the performances are turgid, with some members of the company pulling so many faces on stage it makes it impossible to concentrate on what's actually meant to be happening. Even more frustrating, adaptor and director Nick Warburton seems to have cut the piece without a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve, other than 'The Complete Dr Faustus (abridged).'

The frankly childish staging of the 'temptations' Faust is subjected to are insulting to both its audiences' sensibilities and the idea of Marlowe's intelligent character. Nothing about this production - not Faust's 'damnation,' not the 'lusty' appeal of Helen of Troy, and especially not the heavy-handed staring competitions between the good and bad angels as they 'battle' for Faust's soul - ever manages to transcend the level of cartoon. Overall this production is a laughably one-dimensional game of tug-of-war, with pretensions of being actual drama.

(Originally awarded 1½ stars.)

Reviewer: Rachel Lynn Brody

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