We saw "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus" at San Jose Rep tonight. The audience was only half full, and I was very tired from a long week. I would have been tempted to put off the tickets, except my next few weeks of work will be even busier than this one has been.
I'm glad we didn't wait. It was an awesome show!
The story is old: <spoiler alert> boy meets devil, bargains away soul, regrets it in the end. Even though I haven't seen this play before, I was already a little bored.
But everything else about it was very new and interesting! The costumes were great--and historic, which I appreciated. Beautiful to look at, and lots of changes of costume for the many character parts that each of the 4 actors played.
Did I say actors? I should have said actor and 3 actresses! The mostly male characters were mostly cast with females, which added an interesting dimension to the interactions between the characters, especially Faustus and Mephistopheles.
Mark Anderson Phillips was superb as the alternatingly gloating and repentent Dr. Faustus. His performance was reminiscent of his split personality portrayal of the older brother in Long Day's Journey into Night.
Lindsy Kail as Mephistopheles was show-stealing! She was bewitching, and very creative in her portrayal of the 7 deadly sins--so fun to watch!
Rachel Harker as Lucifer was entertaining, and the voice effects enhanced the spine chilling effect.
Halsey Varady (who could impersonate Kirsten Dunst easily) was fun to watch in all her many roles--she was funny and energetic on stage.
As usual, the staging was very interesting. SJ Rep has used screens to good effect before, and tonight they did so again. The screens enhanced the background, allowed aerial views, and made furniture and stage curtains for entrances and exits.
Do get tickets soon--because if all the hard work put into this show doesn't get its due audience, that would be a tragical history indeed. They deserve a much more eloquent review than I am capable of tonight after a long week, so don't hold that against them.
4 hours ago