This is the story of a man who wants everything, and is willing to sell his soul to the devil to get it – and it’s a production that has high ambitions too.
Marlowe’s sixteenth century text is there but it has been chopped and changed, and interspersed with video clips, songs, and jokes about iPads.
In the title role Adam Edwards has great tone and presence, descending into a despairing mess as his dreadful destiny becomes all too discernible. John Dane’s Mephistophilis wields an intense and cruel power; tightly wound and viciously bitter.
Giles Conneely has (literal) comedy chops, his expressive face gurning through multiple roles as (a surprisingly tuneful) Lucifer, Robin, and a much-abused Pope. Nina Taylor leads the assorted spirits and supporting characters, switching between a solemn Good Angel and an animalistic, prowling Bad Angel.
Jane Kidan, David White, Diane Webb, and Alex Gale cover a range of characters, including the seven deadly sins.
There is no sloth in this production, but there is a gluttony of ideas. Chris Bealey’s direction and design is bursting with clever concepts, but they are also clashing concepts. The cast can be proud of their performances, but I still left a little covetous of a simpler, stronger, telling of this classic story.