Dundee Rep, Tue 13–Sat 17 Nov, then touring
In general, the visual arts and theatre go together like garlic and custard. The theatre’s more outward-looking social vision, its concern with public issues, might seem to contrast with the inward looking self reflexivity of contemporary art. Headlong Theatre, though, are out to confound expectations with a blend of the two. In their former guise as Oxford Stage Company, this company set a precedent with Jeff Koons, but here the experiment is taken further.
In this new rendering of Marlowe’s classic by Rupert Goold and Ben Power the story of Dr Faustus’ deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for seven years of wealth and pleasure, runs alongside that of the Brit Art enfant terrible pair, Dino and Jake Chapman. The latter duo also do a deal with a mysterious Barcelona trader for exposure in a modern nightmare world. The two stories merge into a single vision of hell, both medieval and modern. The particular and relatively unusual social concerns of the Chapman brothers’ work might lend itself to theatre more than most visual art, and the critical reception so far for this touring piece seems to recommend it.