First-time director Emma Skalicky did not disappoint with her adaptation of Doctor Faustus. The production was fantastically disconcerting and completely in form with Christopher Marlowe’s original 400 year old tale of dark desire. It had audiences both laughing and jumping with fright. From the minute you step over the salt line and see Doctor Faustus drawing her devil’s circle you are transported into a world of temptation, witchcraft and desire.
While there were a few stumbles over the complex lines, the actors made up for these minor mistakes with complete and unwavering enthusiasm that had the audience’s hearts beating a little faster.
Throughout the performance, the dark and truly disturbing scenes involving the chorus were a real standout. Guttural moans and screams made the presence of hell throughout the performance palpable. However intermittent the scenes of comic relief provided by the clown and her mistress were, Wagner prevented the audience from being entirely disturbed while the subtle humour throughout kept things truly enjoyable.
For me, and I believe for many others, the true highlight was the character of Mephistopheles and his humorous reactions and interactions Doctor Faustus, the title character. His antics had audiences smiling and feeling wonderfully uneasy.
Overall, there was no lack of talent either onstage or behind the scenes. Sets and costumes were perfectly simplistic, while the music and lights were just intense enough to add atmosphere without detracting from the dark tale.
I believe Emma Skalicky and her troupe of performers have quite thoroughly entertained and captured the curiosity of their audience. They have left us wondering what we would be willing to do for success. Are our temptations and deepest desires worth doing anything we can to fulfil them?