This week, Kerry and I went to Staunton for a night, and made it a point to stop in to see a production at the Blackfriars Playhouse. Our previous show there had been Shakespeare’s Othello, and it was very well produced. If you’re a fan of Othello, Key & Peele have a very good take on Othello, worth it for a laugh, particularly if you know how the story goes.
This trip was for a production of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. This is where my lack of stage knowledge really shows, because I had just thought that everything that is produced at the Blackfriars Playhouse was Shakespeare, and only found out the day of that it was written by a contemporary. I did know that the story of Faust was about a deal with the Devil.
The actors, prior to the play and during intermission, played versions of modern songs, most of which with the infernal theme. I particularly appreciated a rendition of Highway to Hell during intermission. Lucifer’s costume certainly did make him look out to be a man of wealth and taste. And let me tell you, the woman who played Mephistophilis would have given Elizabeth Hurley a run for her money.
The production had a little bit of pyrotechnics that left the entire space smelling like fire or smoke or a slight chemical smell that with a bit of imagination could have been brimstone or sulfur. Perhaps that was an unintended side effect of the fires, but it added a additional sense to the production and I appreciated it.
After the show, we turned the corner for a late dinner at Zynodoa. We had cheese, gnocchi, steak, and chocolate. Wait staff was friendly, the food was without fault, and I’ll make sure we go back next time we’re in town.
My only regret for the night was not stretching it out to two. The following night the Playhouse was hosting a production of Hamlet. Next time, Staunton.