Review: Faustus – Queensland Theatre Company & Bell Shakespeare @ Brisbane Powerhouse

Michael Gow has not so much adapted Marlowe’s and Goethe’s pre-existing Faustus texts as editorialised them with a whole range of other western cultural materials – poetry, drama, music, song and film. He’s woven them together with his own words into a contemporary take on the man who bargains his soul away to the devil in exchange for power and youth.

Gow directs this new play in a highly theatrical realisation that calls upon all the traditions of story-telling: mask, puppetry, song, and multiple role-playing by the ensemble. It’s absolutely 21st century theatre, but this production retains the earthy flavour and naiveté of the medieval theatre’s Morality plays and their lively playing out of the forces of good and evil in the world.

Apparently the devils, imps and vice figures were hugely popular in these early pieces, and so it is here. From the outset we know it’s not going to be a good ending for Faustus (Ben Winspear) but rather his sparring with Mephistophilis (John Bell) and the journey along the way to Hell’s Mouth that will provide the thrills for an audience.

With design by Jonathon Oxlade and lighting by Jason Glenwright the playing space fills the main stage of the Brisbane Powerhouse. Production design supports a range of theatrical delights which include Phil Slade‘s musical composition and Chris More‘s video designs. Continue reading Review: Faustus – Queensland Theatre Company & Bell Shakespeare @ Brisbane Powerhouse