FRINGE REVIEW – Dr Faustus, Underbelly

*****

16-29 Aug, 1130 (1230) @ Underbelly, Cowgate

You can see more professional theatre productions on the Fringe, and you will probably see performers more skilled in movement and dance. But for an amateur production this show is of a surprisingly high standard and therefore well worth supporting.
Offshoots theatre company have re-imagined the classic tale of Dr Faustus as a circus, full of sideshow grotesques, live music, and displays of skills such as contact juggling, dance, and acrobatics. The costumes also fit the carnival theme, we have a burlesque-influenced Lust, a candy striped Gluttony, a top-hatted Wrath, Mephistopheles in red tails and sparkling hot pants, and Faust’s conscience appears in the form of two clowns, one in black and the other in white.
The makeup, lighting and set in the form of a series of giant carnival mirrors all complement the theme perfectly, and there is some imaginative staging here too. Juxtaposed against this is the traditional script. The flowery language may put some off, but it is delivered with admirable clarity by the talented cast.
It is with the physical segments, however, that this show really comes into its own. This is particularly true of the second half, where the Seven Deadly Sins are introduced and Dr Faustus is carried away by power and corruption to meet his fate. At this point the show becomes a real visual feast and one can fully appreciate the work that has gone into creating this.
This is an ambitious production and may sound like a risky option in the Fringe programme, but rest assured it is well worth a look. Offshoots may well become a force to be reckoned with.

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