Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Pact House at the Young Vic.

Off to the Young Vic to see a wonderfully inventive Faust by Vesturport, the Icelandic aerial anarchists who've spent the last few years making hay with fresh and exhilarating adaptations of classic plays.

As with their previous touring work Woyzeck, Romeo and Juliet and Metamorphosis there's a non apologetic approach to the production as the creative team rip through the treasured layers of cultural meaning to arrive at an immediate, accessible and arresting modern version.

Set in an old people's home on Christmas eve an old actor with a crush on his young nurse tries to charm her into staying with him over the festive period with his poetic reading of Faust, only to be thwarted by the charmless reprimand of her boyfriend co-worker. Rather than face the humiliation of aged solitude he attempts to take his life only to be saved by the sadistic, unsentimental, but ultimately plain dealing Mefisto.

From then on a carnival of devious demons bouncing around on the trapeze net above the audience's head ensues, supported by a range of rejuvenating and life affirming effects including a fantastic bonfire of the wheelchairs, and a full scale rock out to Wham's Last Christmas.

This isn't a show for purists and certainly doesn't engage with the complicated moral questions of what it means to be human in any genuinely reflective way. What it does do is offer a series of breathtaking, and quite frankly sexy theatrical moments that make the evening as irresistible and seductive as a dance with the devil himself.

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