(Benedict Nightingale's article appeared in The Times of London, 8/20/09.)


In a modern Bosch were painting Hell, it would very likely turn out the way that the Romanian director Silviu Purcarete imagines it, or Faust’s vision of it, in the adaptation of Goethe he’s brought to an exhibition hall near Edinburgh airport.

We’re summoned from our seats by actors in hog masks and taken behind the stage to a vast space in which a white-suited MC with a black spider on a lapel presents us with everything from forklift trucks from which bodies dangle to vast faces plastered with mud, from screeching dancers to women having sex with pigs, from a trundling rhino to a witch who cackles as she suckles Mephistopheles, from a melon representing a head that’s violently split open to the wizened shell of Faust’s once-beloved Margareta.

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