Previewed 9 April 2016, Opened 25 April 2016, Closed 25 June 2016 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London
A major revival of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus in London starring Kit Harington for a strictly limited eight week season - presented in an adaptation by Colin Teevan and directed by Jamie Lloyd
Dr Faustus makes a pact with the Devil, selling his soul to the Devil in return for the ability to perform absolutely anything he pleases with the power of black magic. This fatal decision catapults him into an intoxicating world of celebrity, as he becomes a world-renowned conjuror, international heartthrob and friend of the rich, famous and powerful. But what is the cost of his insatiable thirst for wealth and fame?
Cast features Kit Harington in the title role along with Jenna Russell as 'Mephistopheles', Jade Anouka as 'Wagner' and Forbes Masson as 'Lucifer' with Tom Edden, Brian Gilligan, Danielle Flett, Craig Stein, Gabby Wong, Garmon Rhy. Featuring new scenes by Colin Teevan.
Kit Harington is best known for playing the role of 'Jon Snow' in the hugely popular television series Game of Thrones. His London stage credits include Lyndsey Turner's stage of Laura Wade's play Posh (Royal Court Theatre 2010) and the National Theatre cast of Marianne Elliott's stage production of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse (Olivier Theatre 2008 and New London Theatre 2009).
When this production opened here at the Duke of York's Theatre in April 2015, Henry Hitchings in The London Evening Standard thought that "Kit Harington is agile and energetic in this unapologetically messy take on Christopher Marlowe’s classic play. He doesn’t always make perfect sense of the passionate Elizabethan verse, but he has an undeniable presence... Jamie Lloyd and Colin Teevan are astute about today’s slavish fixation with celebrity, yet the result feels like an exercise in bombarding us with toxic images." Ann Treneman in The Times commented that, "if the devil is in the detail, then he's very much centre stage here. The director Jamie Lloyd has invested so much in the detail, not to mention the devil, that if he did not shock then he wouldn't be happy... It's all wildly OTT but I must admit that I rather liked it." Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph said that "there's nothing intrinsically wrong with this sort of star-driven 'event' theatre. But alas there's little that's intrinsically right about Jamie Lloyd's revival... While he looks impressive, Kit Harington's delivery stays stubbornly earthbound. He's competent and clear but hardly a match for Marlowe's mighty line, lacking sufficient fervour and meaningful interiority." Ian Shuttleworth in The Financial Times thought that while "the opening and closing phases of Christopher Marlowe's play can stand proudly beside any other Elizabethan or Jacobean drama... it doesn't half sag in the middle, even if the comic subplot is binned... Jamie Lloyd's revival sets out to rectify this by replacing that section in its entirety... And you know what? It works even less well than all the flippant faff in the original version. Colin Teevan's additional material is the clumsiest stuff I've ever seen from this usually fine writer." Neil Norman in The Daily Express wrote that, "in terms of updating a latter-day Faustus, director Lloyd and writer Colin Teevan, who cheekily bills himself as co-writer with Marlowe, leave no cliché unturned... Kit Harington bares his bottom but just survives this farrago which makes Irvine Welsh seem like Terence Rattigan. Utter drivel." Michael Billington in The Guardian highlighted that "Jamie Lloyd’s production seems based on the idea that nothing succeeds like excess. The presence of Kit Harington, who is a perfectly good actor, in the title role will guarantee a young audience but what they will see is a Marlovian mish-mash... There is little such subtlety in this modernised version which simply suggests that it’s a mistake to squander your sense of self for the sake of global popularity." Patrick Marmion in The Daily Mail said that "director Jamie Lloyd turns the ancient morality tale into a zombie apocalypse with the naked, swivel-eyed undead spewing black yoghurt... As it wears on, the show becomes ever more flamboyant and by the time we get to a violent rape scene near the end, it proves itself to be not only tasteless, but also gratuitous. Which is a shame, because Kit Harington shows us a winning smile at the curtain call and he looks like a nice boy who’s capable of so very much more."
"Jamie Lloyd confirms his reputation for diminishing every play he directs with this new production of Doctor Faustus. Rather than explore a text with insight and integrity, he subjects it to a barrage of shock tactics and cheap theatrics in a bid to distract the audience from the hollowness of the exercise... Several of Marlowe's scenes are excised to be replaced by Colin Teevan's crass critique of celebrity culture - not only a predictable target but one well past its sell-by date... As Faustus, Kit Harington is 'overparted'. He substitutes generous displays of his crowdpleasing torso for vocal command and emotional commitment." The Sunday Express
"Everyone applauds Jamie Lloyd's determination to get new, by which he means, young audiences into the theatre. But does he really have to sell the soul of his material to do this? In Lloyd,s febrile production of Doctor Faustus. Kit Harington, often in underpants, gets lots of time to show his chest, a minute or two to flash his bum and only one spell at the end to suggest undoubted acting talent. Colin Teevan replaces Marlowe’s unappetising middle section with some incoherent satire... Jenna Russell is an acid, wheedling Mephistopheles, who provides an uplifting rendition of Bat out of Hell." The Observer
"In the lead role as Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, Harington soon discovers the high price of success, fame and fortune. The audience may have found his pumping posterior a pleasant surprise, but as the doctor brokers a dubious pact with the devil, things take a turn for the worse. Faustus sells his soul to the devil in return for recognising his dream of becoming a rock star magician. Before long it all too clear that Faustus failed to read the terms and conditions. This is not a version for the faint-hearted. Its breathtaking tricks and dance scenes will divide audiences. But sometimes it is not always best to go with the devil you know." The Sunday Mirror
Jenna Russell's West End credits include Anna Mackmin's production of Amelia Bullmore's play Di and Viv and Rose (Vaudeville Theatre 2015), Jamie Lloyd's staging of the Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis musical Urinetown The Musical (Apollo Theatre 2014), Maria Friedman's revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along (Harold Pinter Theatre 2013), Sir Peter Hall revival of David Hare's play Amy's View (Garrick Theatr 2006), Sam Buntrock's revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George (Wyndham's Theatre 2006) and Michael Grandage's revival of the classic musical Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly 2005). Forbes Masson's West End stage credits include Jamie Lloyd's revival of Peter Barnes’ comedy The Ruling Class starring James McAvoy (Trafalgar Studio 2015), Jamie Lloyd's revival of William Shakespeare's Richard III starring Martin Freeman (Trafalgar Studio 2014), Jamie Lloyd's revival of William Shakespeare's Macbeth starring James McAvoy (Trafalgar Studio 2013), Nancy Meckler's revival for the RSC of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors (Novello Theatre 2006), Michael Boyd's revival of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night for the Royal Shakespeare Company (Novello Theatre 2005) and Michael Boyd's revival for the RSC of Shakespeare's Hamlet starring Toby Stephens (Noel Coward Theatre 2004.
Doctor Faustus in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 9 April 2016, opened on 25 April 2016, and closed on 25 June 2016.