The new production of Doctor Faustus at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a traditional take on the classic Marlowe play where Faustus sells his soul to the devil.
The production looks superb and the costumes took us from an earthly Tudor life to a bloody Roman underworld with giant deathly skeletal dragons and great feathered wings.
Paul Hilton was excellent as the young scholar Faustus, entranced by the power black magic will bring him, and enthusiastically seizing the opportunity to sell his soul in return for 24 years enjoying the powers Mephistopheles shares with him.
Doctor Who star Arthur Darvill plays an ambiguous, apathetic Mephistopheles. Felix Scott as Wagner was particularly good and brought an enjoyable energy to the stage. As the clown, Pearce Quigley turned a role which could have been an annoying comic turn into an unexpectedly endearing character.
As a viewer unfamiliar with the play, I thought the script and plotting didn’t seem to live up to the big issues the play explored. It never gets very scary but is frequently quite funny so the production never drags.
Watching an Elizabethan play under the stars at the Globe is always a magical experience and Doctor Faustus is a fascinating and imaginative evening’s entertainment.
18 June – 2 October 2011. Tickets from £5. www.shakespearesglobe.com