The Royal Shakespeare Company’s punchy production of the Christopher Marlowe classic Doctor Faustus sees two actors share the titular role, their casting determined by the fates of matchsticks.

Telling the tale of a brilliant but embittered, isolated academic seeking truths beyond the confines of humanity’s comprehension, Doctor Faustus sees the futility of religion, law and science superseded by twenty four years of absolute power and knowledge of the universe – in exchange for a human soul.

Risking everything, Faustus strikes a deal with Lucifer through the demon Mephistophilis, signing in blood. And while the euphoria of newfound powers initially comes to the fore, his world begins to crumble as the clock inexorably counts down to the final moment of reckoning.

Sandy Grierson and Oliver Ryan share the roles of Faustus and Mephistophilis, with their casting determined purely by fate. The two actors enter, light a match and watch it burn, with whosever match goes out first to play the damned Doctor.

Directed by Maria Aberg, this is a thrilling tale of vanity, greed and damnation. 

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