New York | 2h 20m | Already closed

Doctor Faustus

From 21 critic and 15 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Great acting, Intelligent, Absorbing, Slow

About the show

Classic Stage Company's production starring Chris Noth, about a man who sells his soul to the devil for power, experience, pleasure and knowledge. More…

A pact with the devil brings boundless knowledge and endless gratification. There's just one little catch…Classic Stage Company tackles Christopher Marlowe’s ever-irreverent 'Doctor Faustus,' which remains as ahead of its time today as it was when it first scandalized audiences some four hundred years ago.

2h 20m | Already closed | Classic Stage Company (East Village)


"'The road to Hell is paved with good intentions' couldn't be truer than with the purposefully intended and also giddily entertaining production of 'Doctor Faustus...' I was often moved to laughter by the devilishly clever text and the style and speed of the performance...Fun, participation and gamesmanship are the key components of this whimsical adaptation." Full Review


"I imagine that Marlowe would appreciate much if not all of what the adapters have done, for they have told his story with gravitas along with plenty of humor both high and low – and mostly low. This enjoyable 'Doctor Faustus' runs through July 12." Full Review


"His fast-and-furious revival of the work emphasizes the text's low humor over just about everything else. Is it jarring? Yes. But in a vein similar to Marlowe's original. Still, Belgrader's vision turns 'Doctor Faustus' into an unexpected treat that just may be the comic hit of the summer...But with Belgrader emphasizing the shtick, Noth is placed at an extreme disadvantage. He has the makings of an intriguing Faustus, brooding and intelligent, and handsome, but he's not commanding enough to... Full Review


"If you were expecting a heavy slog through Shakespeare contemporary Christopher Marlowe's soul-scorching drama, think again. Based on Goethe's legendary dramatization about a vainglorious intellectual who bartered with the devil's disciple, this adaptation by David Bridel and Andrei Belgrader is as long on comedy as it is on theology... Yet it remains faithful to Marlowe's literal intention. Comic interludes, irreverently embellished here, are an integral part of the source, scholars say." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"The emphasis on comedy may not be to everyone’s liking. But if accepted, it makes for an entertaining evening, despite its undercutting the seriousness of the message that temporary rewards don’t look as great after one has enjoyed them but is faced with the pre-arranged consequences. However, laughter has rewards of its own." Full Review

New York Daily News

"Director Andrei Belgrader, who adapted Christopher Marlowe’s play with David Bridel, plays the show for all its loosey-goosiness. He pumps in dry ice, which works, and pipes in disembodied voices, which sound goofy. He has clowns break the fourth wall and interact with the audience. Puppetry lends a laugh. The play’s abrupt ending isn’t graceful; the story basically falls off a cliff. Overall, it’s a familiar tale, easy to take. No deadly sin in that." Full Review

Epoch Times

"There is a wild scene involving audience participation, when certain audience members are brought onstage as the cast gapes...Under Andrei Belgrader’s direction, performances are fine." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"But does any of this work? Hell no. But as is often the case with any kind of trainwreck theater, the brazen up-yours to convention becomes a sort of alluring pageantry in itself, however wrongheaded much of it is. One just wishes someone told Noth, who seems to be doing the same jut-jawed straight-man act we’ve seen for years now. Getting through this 'Doctor Faustus' might be your own personal deal with the Devil in many ways, but I’d be a damned liar if I said I was ever bored by a moment... Full Review

Off Off Online

"If hijinks diminish the tragic effect and Marlowe’s transporting poetry, the production retains integrity. And if Faustus’s final descent to the fiery pit isn’t likely to bring forth any catharsis, that’s partly because Faustus concerns himself with trifling pranks. It’s too bad that director Belgrader couldn’t imbue this production with a bit more gravitas." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Faustus’s inner turmoil doesn’t resonate with as much force as the buffoonery of yokels or the wonderfully weary malevolence of devil Mephistopheles. Danger in this madcap production comes largely from smashing the fourth wall, especially when Faustus meets the Seven Deadly Sins. Gluttony gobbles doughnuts, Covetousness eyes audience members’ bags and Mephistopheles tracks the scent of Pride into the house. It’s a form of terror, sure, but not the sort that plumbs the depths of hell." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"At its worst, 'Doctor Faustus' impropriety is its only consistency; red noses and water pistols are among the many things missing from its clownish attempts at comedy. At times, pantomime and 'Springtime for Hitler' came to mind. There are frequent and uncomfortable attempts at audience participation including a singalong that only a lean echoey subsection sang along to...In the right hands, Marlowe's provocative morality play endures still. In the wrong hands however, the devil makes work." Full Review


"Noth doesn’t quite capture the raging inner conflict that needs to be present in order to make the audience care about whether or not Faustus will be damned or find salvation...Their antics were often genuinely funny but I felt these sequences went on a little too long to the detriment of the overall pace of the production...The script does not give much dimension to any character besides Faustus...It therefore falls upon Noth to carry the production, and he ultimately does not." Full Review

New York Post

"This new adaptation by David Bridel and director Andrei Belgrader swerves between thoughtful monologues and comedy so broad that you could run a horse-drawn cart through it...While this show embraces both the play’s high and low points, it doesn’t deliver either extreme very well. Only Grenier looks at ease with the serious stuff, while the comedy, which relies way too much on cheesy audience participation, doesn’t go far enough." Full Review

The New York Times

"The wicked fun and games Faustus and friends get up to don’t appear particularly naughty or even enjoyable...The production’s central problem remains Mr. Noth’s inability to invest his 'Doctor Faustus' with palpable inner life. He’s not terribly convincing either in his moments of unbridled pleasure and pride in doing dark deeds, or as a tormented man grappling with the vestiges of his conscience. In the end, Mr. Noth’s Faustus comes across as a man who doesn’t actually have a soul to sell." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"This is the play that is supposed to grab us by the scruff of the neck and shake us silly. This is the play that is supposed to pull us back from the edge. This is the play that is supposed to make us shout from the rooftops that what we have and what we are is just fine, thank you very much. This production does no such thing." Full Review

Village Voice

"'Doctor Faustus' is a hammy drag that feels far removed from the divine. Belgrader's approach emphasizes farce over feeling. Several times, the cast stops the show to engage audience members in strained comedy. None of this illustrates Marlowe's themes of human ambition or corruptibility...Hell is other people dragged onstage." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Marlowe's classic loses its soul in a lackluster slog...This production of the mortality play falls flat with diabolical sing-alongs, awful fight choreography... Belgrader seems to have sacrificed any sense of impetus, arc or pace to some quaint bits of stage magic and an odd detachment from the text. He relies on a lot of audience participation, especially in the comedy scenes, which would work much better if the spectators were more interested." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Christopher Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus' is performed so rarely on our shores it's a shame that the current revival by the Classic Stage Company is such an ill-conceived mess. Starring a miscast Chris Noth in the title role, this rendition directed by Andrei Belgrader strains so hard to emphasize the Elizabethan play's farcical aspects that it totally extinguishes its emotional resonance. At the end, 'Doctor Faustus' may indeed wind up eternally damned, but you won't care a whit." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“'Flee, man!' is the urging, and there could not be a better warning to anyone considering attending Classic Stage Company’s new adaptation of 'Doctor Faustus.' This version is comedic, vaudevillian and generally without purpose...The main thrust of the story is completely swept away in slapstick antics and lifeless dialog...The edits feel like a mockery of the story itself. " Full Review

Broadway & Me

"'Doctor Faustus' was 'The Exorcist' of its day. So imagine my confusion when the new adaptation of 'Doctor Faustus' that opened at Classic Stage Company this week turned out to be a comedy. Then imagine my dismay when it turned out to be a not very funny one." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"Uninspired, ploddingly paced, dully designed, and weakly acted production...The CSC production is so flatfooted and pedestrian, its effects so cheesy, its comedy so forced, and its acting so shallow, that you need the fortitude of Jove to keep your eyes from spinning out of their sockets...'Doctor Faustus' is a hell of a difficult play; perhaps only a pact with the devil could make it work." Full Review

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if Anyone who like classic theatre with a twist of modern sensibilities.

Don't see it if You can follow a complicated and thoughtful plot.

Strange, Distubing, Histerical, Far fetched, Dramatic

See it if You like comedies or the TV Show the Canadian TV Series the Collector. There is a lot of audience interaction.

Don't see it if you don't like full frontal nudity and over the top humor.

Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if Want to see Christopher Marlowe's play based on the classic deal with the devil story.

Don't see it if Cannot suspend modern thinking and consider the story to be dated ... and if you intend to hold Marlowe and Noth to Shakespearean standards.

Great acting, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if you are a fan of any of the casts and you do not mind a slightly different interpretation of a classic play.

Don't see it if prefer plays performed as intended or if you are not a fan of Faustus. l

Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Dated

See it if you're into the classics.

Don't see it if you want something new and fresh.

Disappointing, Slow, Overrated, Indulgent

See it if You really like Chris Noth. I found it boring, slow and could not wait for it to end. Several people never came back after intermission.

Don't see it if You have things to do. Also totally unnecessary nudity. I am cool with nudity but it is not always necessary or relevant to the story.

Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow, Directorial disaster, Ineffective script

See it if you just want to gaze at Noth. DF was a mess. Nothing worked. A misguided production from start to finish that wasted talent and money.

Don't see it if you don't have to. The play's premise is intriguing (DF sells his soul to the devil) but yields no riches in this production.

Also A special pet peeve: plays performed in-the-round. You miss way too mu... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Confusing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you love drama

Don't see it if don't like subtitles

Intelligent, Masterful, Thought-provoking, Epic, Absorbing

See it if Great acting and writing in a play as relevant today as it was hundreds of years ago when it was first produced.

Don't see it if don't view theatre as a thinking person's game or want to flex your intellect to keep up with an intricate plot.

Clever, Confusing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if you love philosophy and the typical story about selling your soul to the devil. Watch the version with Arthur Darvill at the Globe.

Don't see it if you're easily confused by Shakespeare-type language. Though Shakespeare didn't write it, it's still a very old play.

Great acting, Masterful, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy a thought provoking intimate theater experience

Don't see it if You're impatient.

Edgy, Great acting, Profound, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if You love theatre that really engages an audience and uses a lot of movement/animal work and you like to be kept on your toes

Don't see it if You don't like the grotesque

Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy modern takes on classics.

Don't see it if You have an aversion to theatre blood.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Profound, Resonant

See it if You have a love for Shakespeare and the profound question of balancing desire.

Don't see it if you don't like shakespeare


See it if you're a fan of Kit Harrington.

Don't see it if you value your time.

Cast & Creatives

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