Doctor Faustus OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: James Estrin
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    June 18, 2015
    Closing:
    July 12, 2015

    Theater: Classic Stage Comp. / 136 East 13th Street, New York, NY, 10003

    Synopsis: 

    A pact with the devil brings boundless knowledge and endless gratification. There’s just one little catch… Join Chris Noth (“Law & Order,” “Sex and the City,” “The Good Wife”) as he teams up with director Andrei Belgrader (The Cherry Orchard, Waiting for Godot, Scapin) to tackle Christopher Marlowe’s ever-irreverent DOCTOR FAUSTUS, which remains as ahead of its time today as it was when it first scandalized audiences some four hundred years ago.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Doctor Faustus

    ‘Doctor Faustus,’ All That Heaven Won’t Allow

    Charles Isherwood

    June 18, 2015: Psst, Mephistopheles, are you still around, making deals on behalf of the Devil? Promise to give me back the two hours I spent enduring the Classic Stage Company’s misguided production of Christopher Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus,” and maybe we can come to an agreement. Eternal damnation doesn’t seem all that bothersome if my memories of this show, starring Chris Noth as the titular soul seller and Zach Grenier as Mephistopheles, can be permanently erased. The production, directed by the veteran Andrei Belgrader, employs a heavily adapted text by David Bridel and Mr. Belgrader. Language has been modernized: “thou” becoming “you” and “hath” becoming “has,” etc. Characters have been tweaked or eliminated, speeches curtailed. Some innovations are helpful, such as having Wagner (Walker Jones), Doctor Faustus’s loyal assistant, pipe up with translations of the Latin that Marlowe sprinkled through the text. Others, not so much. This updated colloquial comedy is not an improvement on the original. (And if thou cannot improve on centuries-old comedy, thou art in trouble.) But, in general, the emendations and cuts are not particularly detrimental to the drama, since there isn’t much in the first place. “Doctor Faustus” is not a text of particular sanctity; it’s rarely performed, and rather than a “tragical history,” as it was called, the play is more a moral (or rather amoral) pageant depicting the title character romping through the world, causing mischief after making that famous pact with the Devil.

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