Faust @ The Young Vic

The all too familiar story of Faust gets a makeover in this new production at the Young Vic theater in London. Based on Goethe’s ‘Faust’,  Vesturport and the Reykjavík City Theater kick the London stage doors open and bring you a production very different from anything you’ve seen before. With music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, the audience enters a dream like state, never knowing what will happen next….

It’s difficult to describe what the show is like to be honest…. comedy meets acrobatics, which meets theater, which in turn meets musical, and finally meets a horror film. It was the first time I’d ever seen an Icelandic theater group, and I must say, I was quite impressed.

At first the show started out a bit slow… and I almost fell asleep. I knew there were acrobatics involved, but while I was watching the opening scene, I couldn’t imagine how they would fit in…at all. Finally, something happened…and most people in the audience jumped as a reaction to what they were watching. Without giving too much away, there is of course a devil involved in this show….this can be deduced if you’ve ever read the story of Dr. Faust, or seen any play on the topic. The devil in this production had two minions, and all three of them look like they really were from a world down under.

The auditorium was ideally set up for this kind of entertainment where a net was positioned above the audiences’ heads and was often used by the actors to jump around, or fall out of the sky.  Actually, an entire scene took place on the net above us, and it was funny to see everyone with their necks tilted up, watching to see what would happen next… The consistency of everything was refreshing, and its a great achievement that the effect of the acrobatics was successfully enhanced by lighting and music.

The nightmare-ish performance played on a lot of themes regarding faith and human temptation. Smack in the middle of the stage, nailed to the set was a wreath which alternated from Christmas decoration to an inverted pentagram. So, if you are one of those people that go to church every Sunday, believe in no sex before marriage, read the bible before going to bed and have protested outside a cinema when they were showing Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ’….. I don’t think this show is for you. The truth is  that watching certain things played out in front of you gets you thinking about yourself. Throughout the entire show I thought “what would I do if I had this opportunity?” and the answer is “I really don’t know”. It’s easy to claim we believe… but when our belief is put to the test, how well do we score?

Aside from religion however, which is the obvious topic to stress, there are a lot of other underlying facts of life that were dealt with on stage. The relationship between a man and a woman….the difference between men and women….the way old people are treated once they are put in a home…the real bond between a brother and sister, and if there is one at all…

To wrap up, the point of this post is to suggest to whoever reads it that going to see this production is well worth it. I tried my best not to give away too much, but if you know the subject its hard not to know the story, only this time, you don’t know how it will be played out. It is definitely unconventional, and my suggestion, to really get you into the mood, is to have a couple of drinks before and during the show…. trust me, it makes the experience much better.

For more info on the production and how to get tickets Click Here

For more info on Vesturport (the cast) Click Here

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