The Devil Without
Faustus myth given fresh take through experimental fusion of theatre and magic at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Ian Harvey Brown is a mentalist. Unlike those who use their power for evil – persuading old ladies that their husbands are happy – or to celebrate their own brilliance like Derren Brown, Brown applies his tricks of the mind to reconsider the myth of Faustus. Staged as part seance and part performance, Brown plays the role of an immortal Faust on the run from a demon. After a few cheeky magic routines, Brown conjures a universe invaded by spirits and freaks out the audience.
His cold-reading is impressive, and he uses the hypnotism familiar from Paul McKenna’s old television shows to persuade the audience that a devil is pacing the corridors of C venues. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get far in elaborating on the Faust story – the themes of good and evil, man and God, wisdom and intelligence that usually pepper the tale are replaced by some cool turns.
As a step towards using magic as the basis for a theatre production, The Devil Without is exciting. Brown is a confident trickster and, in the introduction, creates an intriguing version of Faust, who owes more to DC Comic’s Constantine than Marlowe. A deeper penetration into the mysteries of the myth, rather than the mind, is missing: the experiment in fusion of theatre and magic is still being developed.
C Venues, run ended.