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RSC Doctor Faustus - Review

dr faustusThe students and teachers of the Rushcliffe Sixth Form A2 English Literature department recently visited Stratford-upon-Avon to see the RSC's recent interpretation of Christopher Marlowe's seventeenth century classic 'Doctor Faustus', in which the protagonist Faustus learns the repercussions of selling his soul to the devil. This was an important visit as the value of the alternative interpretations that different productions of plays can offer is emphasised at A Level, holding a key role in the A2 exam. The RSC's contemporary insight into the play was enjoyed thoroughly as its incomparable originality made it an intriguing, clever and intense viewing experience. Director Maria Aberg's choice to omit the comedic relief of the play's parallel subplot perpetuated the play's already established dark tone whilst the cabaret-esque eroticism served to highlight the bewitchment of the hell, resulting in an overall even more sinister feeling. In addition, her ingenious decision to leave which actor would play Faustus or the devil Mephistopheles to chance, on stage, through the burning of matches, emphasised the duality of the story's most essential characters and their appearance of two sides of the same coin, whilst equally accentuating their connection and companionship, that which was sealed with a kiss in the compelling denouement. Furthermore, the incorporation of musical numbers were an intriguing addition to the play as their use was arguably not entirely befitting of the overarching mood, though they appeared few and far between and fittingly highlighted the mesmerising enchantment of the play's manipulative devils. Whilst left slightly irritated by the pedantic theatre staff, we were nonetheless greatly engaged by the matinee and managed the gauge unusual and original ideas and debates for use in our upcoming exam. A thank you to Miss Allen and other staff for arranging an academically insightful, thought provoking and overall highly entertaining school trip.