At the Crossroads

I was the only one watching this show, and what a mistake the hordes of people outside on Victoria Street made. Modern Robot, consisting of guitarist Ben Singer and drummer Phil, provides an astonishingly powerful exhibition of musical talent. The concept of the show is simple: a man with an electric guitar and a drummer provide a devised soundtrack to one of cinema’s most iconic silent classics, Faust by F. W. Murnau.

It makes for an experience I wouldn’t mind reliving again and again.

The film is itself an incredible feat of cinema. First premiering in 1926, Faust was ahead of its time in terms of visual effects, with shots of villain Mephisto towering over the town where Faust lives, as well as beautiful cinematic perfection in the form of faux-aerial shots of cliffs, snowy mountains, and the shoreline.

If you’ve never seen Faust, even with its original score, the fact it’s being shown at all with a live soundtrack is worth the admission fee immediately. The original score, written by Werner R. Heymann, has no place in this version of the film, and what a treat that proves to be.

Modern Robot provide a pulsating, breathtakingly epic score to the film. The distinct, atmospheric movements accompanying the different scenes and themes of the film are expertly arranged and the post-rock Godspeed You Black Emperor-esque guitar and drumming is of an exceptional quality. Not once during the film does the music feel out of place, a testament to the incredibly thoughtful process that goes into creating a score to such a fantastic piece of classic silent cinema.

The different and fluctuating emotive feelings from the film are superbly transferred to the music. The faux-aerial shots provide an opportunity for Singer to show his more relaxed side, with the music providing an air of complete wonder and astonishment, perfectly mirroring the action on screen. As Mephisto, the main villain of the movie in the form of both the devil and Faust’s corrupted mind, gets progressively more menacing and dangerous, so too does the music.

The highlight, although it feels ridiculous to attempt to choose one, is without doubt the scene where Gretchen, the love interest of Faust, slowly loses the will to keep looking after her bastard child while battling a snowstorm. Ben takes centre stage here, with the effects pedal being used to completely draw you into the story while simultaneously providing an auditory masterclass of the howling wind that faces Gretchen through her struggle.

It doesn’t stop there as the crescendo at the end of the movie is pulsating and powerful enough to make you completely forget the age of the film you are watching.

This is a supremely good show. The quality of the musicianship on show is astronomical, and twinned with the iconoclastic Faust, it makes for an experience I wouldn’t mind reliving again and again.

Reviews by Conor Matchett

The Assembly Rooms

Soweto Spiritual Singers: The Return

★★★★
Spotlites

Beethoven in Stalingrad

★★★★
SpaceTriplex

Blues! Roots of the Blues

★★★★
Banshee Labyrinth

Skeptics on the Fringe 2015

★★★★
St Andrew's and St George's West, George St

A Beggar for a Miracle: A Fan’s Life in Football

★★★
The Assembly Rooms

Charlotte Green: The News is Read

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

In 1926, F W Murnau hit one of the peaks of German Expressionism with his beautiful, elaborate, and expensive production of the classic legend, Faust. Smoke-filled models, faux-aerial shots, and detailed compositions have kept this movie a favourite of horror fans. Modern Robot presents this influential film with a live score performed on electric guitar and drums. No trembling piano chords here! This thoroughly modern music captures both the light and dark of Faust with its strong lyrical themes, polyphonic textures, and slow descent into cacophony.

Most Popular See More

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Witness for the Prosecution

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets