Diss Corn Hall reviewer – David Vass

Dr Faustus is perhaps the greatest of the seven plays that we know Marlowe wrote, but it’s also difficult, episodic and clunky. So hat’s off to Scene Productions for recognizing that at its dark heart, it contains themes of greed and pride and vanity that are startlingly relevant to an audience of today.

This production was full of bright ideas. Having hacked out most of the overt clowning, the comic reinvention of the angels was a smart way of retaining the plays curiously contrary tone. The decision to have Faustus played by a puppet was inspired. When his tiny frame is barking orders at Mephistophilis, the audience is left in no doubt where the balance of power really lies. Katharine Hurst’s grotesque take on Lucifer as a side show barker made perfect sense leading to a brilliantly unnerving and nightmarish descent into hell.

The brutal surgery required to get the play down to an hour, did leave us wanting more. I can’t recall a crowd at the Corn Hall bellow out with such enthusiasm – some wag actually shouted for an encore. I hope it gives the company pause for thought, so that next time they give us more of what they clearly do so well. They performed with power and imagination, and should have the confidence, in both themselves and their audience, that they could have held us for longer.