Faust/us @ Sweet Grassmarket

Review by Steven Fraser | 10 Aug 2012
  • Faust/us

Our protagonist begins by lying on the floor, while the audience's attention is drawn towards two circular video screens at the back wall of the stage. These screens are pivotal for the duration of the performance, presenting animation, text, b-movie visuals and the demons that torment Faustus throughout. Although the clarity of the visuals is somewhat lacking sophistication, it is the back projection and animation that help move the story forward and set the scene which leads to Dr Faustus's downfall. They also contribute to the unique b-movie world that Faustus inhabits.
 
This fantasy world is analogue, making use of cassettes and telephones as a means of communication with the devil. This approach feels fitting, as it gives a dreamlike atmosphere to the world of Dr Faustus.
The main drawback of the piece is the overuse of voiceover. Although the communication with the devil is the centre point of the story and performance, the insistent voice over feels ineffective at times. This unfortunately dilutes the drama and physicality of a confident interpretation of a familiar story.
 
MacAskill's performance is physical to the extreme, with his seamless ability to react and interact with the projected visuals being a highlight of the powerful and engaging act. The solo performer puts himself completely into the role, relishing every demonic possession and change of character.

Sweet Grassmarket August 2-12 19.50 £9.00 (£7.00) http://www.dbsproductions.co.uk