Sound & Fury's 'Doc Faustus'

Gluttony - Excess Theatre. Rymill Park, cnr East Terrace and Rundle Road. 25 Feb 2012

Sound and Fury are best described as an updated vaudevillian trio (Richard Maritzer, Patrick Hercamp and Ryan Adam Wells) who present scripted stand-up comedy loosely based (very loosely based) on fictional and real historical characters and events.

They are from LA, they are regulars at the Adelaide Fringe, they already have a bag of Fringe awards under their belts from previous shows and they deserve another for ‘Doc Faustus’.  It is a full-on laugh from the time they usher you into the venue and exhort you to “please fill the empty seats first!”

Doc Faustus takes its inspiration from the play Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, who was a contemporary of Shakespeare.  It is the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge.  S&F relocate the story to old Texas and introduce a range of western (and not so western) characters – including a speaking cardboard cut-out of ‘the Duke’ John Wayne – to explore what hell and damnation might really be in a modern world.

Their stagecraft is excellent, especially Hercamp who swaggers and postures around the stage underlining every vacuously silly remark he makes!  They relish audience interaction, and they smash the traditional fourth wall between actor and audience at every opportunity.  They enjoy mistakes and glitches, and make great fun of each other if a line is fluffed or the lighting/sound technician gets carried away or forgets to come in on cue.  Sometimes it seems as if the mistakes might actually be scripted, but who cares.

This is a fun show and appeals on a number of levels and across a wide range of ages and tastes.  It is energetic high-octane silliness, but it is also clever, witty and literary.  It’s also full of enough one-liners and silly stand-up that you don’t have to concentrate too much if you don’t really want to. 

Last year’s Sound and Fury show won a People’s Choice Award.  This one is better.  It is great fun.

Kym Clayton

When: 27 Feb to 17 Mar
Where: Gluttony - Excess Theatre