Last night I had the pleasure of seeing the Stephen Lee/GRADS production of Dr Faustus.
And what fun it was.
Stephen Lee appears in a number of minor roles, but chews the scenery well while doing so! Meantime Patrick Charles Barton's portrayal of Wager was priceless - especially during his hiring of a flunky in an echo of Faustus' deal.
David Meadows as the good (well, not really at all) Herr Doktor Faustus was having fun - immersing himself in the role of a stereotypical annoying German tourist. Given the nature of Faustus' life, this is a wonderful way of portraying him.
Meantime, Mephistopheles (played by Grant Malcolm) seemed bored. Which is just right. He is bored, and just slowly digging the hole that Faustus is leaping into. He knows what is happening, and has seen it all before. And only Faustus does not know - until he thinks it is too late anyway.
Despite the tragedy of the play, it is played as a comedy - until it is not. Faustus capers, japes, and dithers, while Mephistopheles just stands by - occasionally offering a small faint laugh or smile. A comedy the play is - in the most part - in particular, I feel I now have strong evidence (the Vatican Scene) that Elizabethan era humour has a modern relative - not in the grand literary works, but in the British TV farce sketches of the 1970s.
There was one small matter that jarred a little - the method of presenting Lucifer was a little on the clumsy side, but the voice acting of Neale Paterson overcame that and made for a suitably intimidating presence.
Overall, it made for a very funny and thought-provoking show, and well worth seeing.
8.5/10 and a light milk chocolate with a dark and bitter coffee centre on the Sid and Nancy scale.