“All of the avatars treated in this study,” she notes, “with the exception of Yeats’s Countess Cathleen and Wedekind’s Franziska are male.”. Emmanuella Cole (pictured above with Danny Lee Wynter) and Alicia Charles are excellent in multiple roles, while Danny Lee Wynter makes for a delightfully flamboyant Mephistopheles – gestures are emphasised by his overlong sleeves, and he gives his devilish figure a silky insouciance (a doctor abusing young women is, he sighs, merely “tedious”). Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday! Yet somehow amidst all the gimmicks, the power and nuance of the original narrative are preserved, although the rationale for Faustus to sign away her soul is just as foggy from our mindset as it is in the original. 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Read Full Review. At times it works: Mephistopheles complains about being treated like a lowly secretary. Read Full Review, "...The adaptation contains a few quotes from Marlowe's script, but is a very different story. At the Lyric Hammersmith, London, until 22 February. Adapted by Emily Casey and Artistic Director Sean Graney, this clever retelling of the Faustus tale (from Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus) features a minimalist set and an ensemble cast who take on individual roles while others sit on the sidelines commenting and adding nuance to the main events. The modernizing and funning up of the material was down to the ensemble and the tricks used to fuel excitement in the scenes as Mephistopheles (the hilariously corny Kate Carson-Groner as Satan’s number two) convinces Faust that Christianity must fall so that all the devils can be free from Hell. Copyright Around the Town Chicago © All rights reserved. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Very much like her predecessor, she should be given choices that … Caroline Byrne directs this radical new work in which the iconic character of Faustus becomes a woman who makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to traverse centuries and change the course of history. While still testing out her magical powers in the company of Mephistopheles, Johanna Faustus takes on the plague successfully, although the Great Fire of London is a regrettable by-product. It’s easy to believe Johanna when she quips that she’s already in Hell. The performers are also the design team, with purposeful limited resources they will enact the tale using the barest elements. Johanna Faustus- The Den Theatre- In the spirit of Graney's previous hits including 12 Nights and Romeo Juliet, six actors tell a modern Faust story. That damned woman: why my Faustus is female. Johanna gains the power of time travel and her initial role as a daughter seeking redress for her mother’s wrongful death is subsumed by endeavours to educate herself in a post-Enlightenment world (“Take me to a library,” she orders Mephistopheles). It gets a laugh, but the quip carries a sting too – the suggestion at the end is that we’ve been roaming in emancipatory thought, inside Johanna’s head, one labelled insane: “You may have my soul but you cannot take my mind,” she insists to the last, on behalf of her demonised sex. Thus, she strikes a bargain with the Devil (also Power): 144 years of life, during which she will never age and has access to the supernatural powers of Mephistopheles (Danny Lee Wynter, pictured below right with McNee), in exchange for her soul. There’s an overt feminist slant, voiced in wry lines like “If you knew the lives we women lead, you’d understand the Devil is a catch”, in Johanna raging about the centuries it takes for equality to inch along, or questioning whether marriage and motherhood detract from Marie Curie’s work and individual status as a brilliant scientist. In the spirit of Graney's previous hits including 12 Nights and Romeo Juliet, six actors tell a modern Faust story. Freed from any busyness between scenes for set removals or costume changes, the tale moves at a swift clip through well-known vignettes—beginning with Faustus obtaining a magical book, signing away her soul in blood, and being drawn to hell as she fails to complete her mission to kill the pope. Learn how your comment data is processed. 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