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Faust, The Warren, Brighton, May 23
Hell, observes our chest-baring dandy of a devil incarnate in this fire-and-brimstone single act fringe epic, is to be found in the pub on a Friday night, in the drunken moments where 21st century damsels and dukes bid sleazily for one another's attention.
There's a kind of heaven to be found in the tranquil beer garden of pop-up church space The Warren on a May afternoon but inside, where the action is, there's much more than the humidity to make the brow drip.
A compelling intensity is set from the off by Mephistopheles, our Satanic disciple brought to Earth, a nihilist bent on sin, evil and destruction.
“You’d better change your strategy,” implores Faust wearily, yet it's the supposedly better spirit who ends up waiving the thinness of his Zen lifestyle in favour of a thrilling yet ultimately poisonous ride which ends in rape, murder and a drowned newborn.
Imbued with conceit by droplets of the devil’s potion (later used to spike the mum of the angelic apple of his eye, lured with a box of tricks left at the altar), Faust tumbles through bars and trance clubs, lost in a vicious circle between earthly pleasure and unquenchable desire.
It’s backed by some fine singing and multi-instrumental musicianship – most notably a murderous double bass, not forgetting sections of Rihanna’s Umbrella and Faithless’s Insomnia.
Goethe’s tale is a Fringe fixture but Dumbwise’s full-blooded, sensuous spin on it has a rare power. Back out in the garden, you feel like you’ve escaped seductive purgatory.
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