Arthur Darvill who plays Mephistopheles, Dr Faustus' dark companion, is also famous as an other Doctor's companion - Doctor Who's (Matt Smith) companion Rory. See more »
Elizabethan drama from the comfort of your sofa.
I've been to Shakespeare's Globe - it's fun and if you can get there it's certainly worth doing. If you can't get there, this provides the next best thing: the stage production filmed in a way that does its very best to capture the experience of watching the live performance although of course nothing is quite like being packed in with other audience members and potentially participating in some of the action (various things, including an extracted tooth, get thrown from the stage and with the way the Globe works, there's nowhere for them to go but into the audience!).
Paul Hilton as Faustus and Arthur Darvill as Mephistopheles both give sound performances and deliver the text as if they mean it - no mean feat with Elizabethan blank verse that can prove tricky to modern ears. There are some nice set pieces and the "special effects" are in keeping with feel of the Globe - great use of costumes, make-up and puppets to provide a sometimes surprisingly disturbing vision of hell. The odd modern quirk (a helium balloon, for example) adds to the tongue-in-cheek feel of the humour.
And there is humour - despite being a bleak piece overall as one man sells his soul to the Devil and then fails to find redemption, Christopher Marlowe was a man who knew the audience of the day so there are plenty of humorous interludes. Darvill brings a sardonic touch to Mephistopheles that makes the darkness at his core all the more disturbing.
If you're used to the very naturalistic approach of modern drama, this might feel like a bit of a stretch but as a slice of Elizabethan drama, presented in a theatre that comes as close to an original as modern health and safety allows, it's certainly worth an evening's viewing.
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