THEATRE REVIEW: Doctor Faustus

WORTH A LOOK?: **

WHERE: Barbican

WHEN: 19/9, runs to 1/10

We caught Jamie Lloyd’s West End take on Christopher Marlowe’s classic starring Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harrington less than five months ago.

  • Read on for how the Royal Shakespeare Company’s take on Doctor Faustus differed from Jamie Lloyd’s

There are two memorable moments in this Royal Shakespeare Company production and the first is when leads Sandy Grierson and Oliver Ryan strike matches to see who will play the lead and who will play the devil.

It’s a bold idea which Robert Icke’s take on Mary Stuart at the Almeida this winter will mimic with Juliet Stevenson and the hugely underrated Lia Williams.

For the uninitiated, Faustus makes a pact with the devil to propel him to success and then has to deal with the consequences. The second memorable sequence is when the seven deadly sins are revealed. It’s very 80s Pet Shop Boys video meets Brad Pitt’s Seven.

There is a fatsuit, a bearded and lascivious lady as well as at least one cast member from the RSC’s far more successful production of The Alchemist which is running concurrently at the Barbican with this show.

This is a 105-minute production without interval and it’s interesting how stretched the material feels here where the Jamie Lloyd production was bursting with ideas and able to sustain interest for far longer.

The RSC can do daring but here it chooses to take no risks and so reminds of so much material at the Globe on the South Bank. A shame because, in other hands, Doctor Faustus has already proved itself incendiary West End stuff.

  • Picture by Helen Maybanks via Facebook courtesy Royal Shakespeare Company. Tickets.
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