Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Review: Doctor Faustus starring Kit Harington at the Duke of York's Theatre

Doctor Faustus 
Duke of York's Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 22nd April 2016

Breaking away from their usual home of Trafalgar Studios, the Jamie Lloyd Company have taken over the Duke of York's Theatre with their production of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus (using Using Colin Teevan's adaptation). In true Jamie Lloyd style some courageous ideas have been thrown into the mix, with the exploration of celebrity culture providing the evening's most compelling moments.

Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington takes on the title role, giving a sturdy performance. There was talk in the interval of some girls almost passing out when Harington took his clothes off; but there's more to Harington than his six pack - he's at ease on stage and throws himself into Faustus' complex mindset, performing intensely gory scene after intensely gory scene.

Harington stars opposite the sensational Jenna Russell as Mephistopheles - I couldn't take my eyes off Russell, once again she gives a faultless performance in an entirely different role. There truly is nothing she cannot do. The ensemble are in sync, performing Polly Bennett's eerie movement direction.

During the first half I often felt the production was trying too hard to be bold, shocking and stylistic - instead I found it rather baffling and uneasy to watch. Doctor Faustus isn't the kind of play you are supposed to 'enjoy', but it should certainly provoke thought. Sometimes I felt like things were being shouted at me left right and centre - perhaps it's trying to say too much. The second act takes a change of direction and I found myself captivated during the final moments; Soutra Gilmour's design, Jon Clark's lighting and Ben and Max Ringham's sublime music/sound cannot be faulted.

Upon leaving the theatre the audience were buzzing - everybody is clearly going to have a strong opinion about this production, and that's why Jamie Lloyd's work is so vital to the West End. He makes decisions other directors and producers would never dream of making. Most importantly Lloyd is a master of attracting new audiences to the theatre, inspiring the next generation of talent.

If you're a fan of blood, gore, nudity and Game of Thrones, you're not going to want to miss this.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Doctor Faustus runs at the Duke of York's Theatre until 25th June 2016.
Please visit www.thejamielloydcompany.com for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

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