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Reviewed by:
  • Doctor Faustus, and: The City Madam
  • Laura Grace Godwin
Doctor Faustus presented by Shakespeare's Globe at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London. June 23-October 2, 2011. Directed by Matthew Dunster. Designed by Paul Wills. Music composed by Jules Maxwell. Choreography by Georgina Lamb. Text work by Giles Block. Movement work by Glynn MacDonald. Voice & dialect work by Martin McKellan. Fights directed by Kate Waters. Puppetry consultant Stephen Tiplady. Magic consultant Richard Pinner. With Charlotte Broom (Bad Angel, Alexander's Paramour), Michael Camp (Duke, Frederick, First Student, Cardinal of Padua, Covetousness), Richard Clews (Dick, First Scholar, Friar Sandelo, Envy), Nigel Cooke (Lucifer, Pope Adrian, Horse-Courser), Jonathan Cullen (Valdes, Pope Bruno, Carter, Gluttony), Arthur Darvill (Mephistopheles), Robert Goodale (Raymond, Old Man, Cornelius, Nan Spit), Paul Hilton (Faustus), William Mannering (Benvolio, Second Scholar, Third Student, Cardinal of France), Sarita Piotrowski (Helen, Pride), Pearce Quigley (Robin, Alexander), Iris Roberts (Hostess, Lechery), Beatriz Romilly (Good Angel, Duke's Servant), Felix Scott (Wagner, Emperor Charles, Wrath), Jade Williams (Duchess, Sloth), and Chinna Wodu (Beelzebub, Martino, Second Student, Archbishop of Rheims).
The City Madam presented by The Royal Shakespeare Company at The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. May 5-October 4, 2011. Directed by Dominic Hill. Designed by Tom Piper. Lighting designed by Tim Mitchell. Music and sound by Dan Jones. Movement by Struan Leslie. Fights by Renny Krupinski. Director of puppetry Rachel Canning. Magic Advisor Chris Harding. Company text and voice work by Lyn Darnley. With Nathaniel Martello-White (Goldwire), Chiké Okonkwo (Tradewell), Sara Crowe (Lady Frugal), Lucy Briggs-Owen (Anne), Matti Houghton (Mary), Simeon Moore (Stargaze, Marshal), Liz Crowther (Millicent), Jo Stone-Fewings (Luke Frugal), Christopher Ettridge (Holdfast, Sheriff), Alex Hassell (Sir Maurice), Michael Grady-Hall (Page), Felix Hayes (Mr. Plenty), Christopher Godwin (Sir John Frugal), Andrew Melville (Hoist, Old Goldwire), Timothy Speyer (Penury), Kammy Darweish (Fortune, Old Tradewell), Nicholas Day (Lord Lacy), Liz Crowther (Secret), Pippa Nixon (Shave 'Em), Oliver Rix (Ramble, Sergeant), Michael Grady-Hall (Scuffle, Sergeant), Christopher Chilton (Ding 'Em, Sergeant), and Harry Myers (Getall).

Whether coming to the story of Pinocchio through Carlo Collodi's original novel, the well-known Disney film, or any of the other numerous versions of the tale, one encounters a few key constants in the narrative. The puppet protagonist, aided by a cricket for a conscience and a fairy as a supernatural benefactor, yearns to become something more than he is. Pinocchio finds his antagonist not amongst the colorful characters he [End Page 221] meets along his journey but, rather, in his own ambiguous relationship with the truth and his perpetual inability to follow the correct path to transcendence, despite the clear road laid out before him. It is in these desires and flaws that one finds a tenuous correlation between the Italian marionette and the men at the center of two early modern English dramas, for Doctor Faustus and The City Madam both present audiences with central figures who dream of better things but ultimately prove their own undoing. Though it is unlikely that such a linkage motivated two recent directors of Marlowe and Massinger to use puppetry in their stagings, it is nevertheless clear that for puppet, professor, and profligate, the achievement of desires comes with significant strings attached.

Shakespeare's Globe marked the quatercentenary of the King James Bible with a

"Word of God" season that opened with a full recitation of the book in question. The reading may have served as a sort of holy insurance policy, for later in the summer the company offered its first production of Doctor Faustus, a text long haunted by a history of supernatural supernumeraries. Seventeenth-century anecdotes about extra devils onstage aside, the reconstructed Globe itself has been bedeviled by a mixed Marlovian heritage. Just as Faustus must contend with the competing visions of Good and Bad Angels, so a director of Marlowe at the Globe must be mindful not only of a successful 2003 Edward II but also a disastrous Dido, Queen of Carthage in the same season. In the end, Matthew Dunster's Faustus trod the line between two extremes, combining a lucid interpretation of the text with a pair of distinctly underwhelming central performances. Enlivened by a spectacular...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-1427
Print ISSN
0748-2558
Pages
pp. 221-231
Launched on MUSE
2012-06-25
Open Access
No
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