UBU FAUST (Broderick Jones with Leila and Pantea Productions): 2017 Fringe review

Ubu Faust Broderick Jones Fringe reviewBroderick Jones introduces his short, funny puppet piece UBU FAUST with descriptions of his sources: the Faust legend, an early modern tale of a man who makes a pact with the devil, immortalized in theater by Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Goethe’s Faust; British Punch and Judy puppet shows, tradition seaside entertainments which arose out of bawdy Commedia dell’Arte; and Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, a pioneering work of avant-garde theater. Yeah, those sound like they’ll work together, I thought. 

They do. Taking the vain, dim, self-interested character from Jarry’s play (including his trademark swirl costume) and inserting him into the Faust legend creates easy humor. Stock characters from Punch and Judy come on to great effect: the police (“most of our time is spent directing traffic, writing tickets, and shooting minorities”), Judy (or “Miss Topholes”), and the crocodile. Jones’s jokes are light-hearted and intelligent; his interactions as engaging as the traditional seaside kids show. If you might like watching a puppet fuck a cardboard cutout of Julia Child, you might like this play.

Make a night of it: UBU FAUST is part of a series of multi-play nights at the Drake from Leila and Pantea Productions, including The Turn of the Screw, Puppet-delphia, and Corinna Burns’s Bind (a one-woman show written and produced by an actor in Turn of the Screw). They are all good in four very different ways.

[Proscenium Theater at the Drake, 301 S. Hicks Street] September 20-23, 2017; fringearts.com/event/ubu-faust

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.