Jonathan Trew: Siobhan Redmond smoulders as Mephistopheles

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TEMPTATION, punishment and the sulphurous stench of devilry prick the nostrils in the kick-off to this weekend’s round-up of reasons to leave the sofa.

Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe’s cautionary tale about the cost of greed, is given a 21st-century treatment in a new production which opened last night at the Citizens’ Theatre in Glasgow.

In this version, featuring two new acts from writer Colin Teevan, Kevin Trainor, last seen in Sherlock and The Catherine Tate Show, takes on the title role while acclaimed stage and screen actor Siobhan Redmond smoulders as the demon Mephistopheles.

Potentially more on the side of the angels is the Edinburgh International Harp Festival taking place at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, for the next few days. One of the most intriguing concerts looks to be tonight’s double bill with Columbian Edmar Castaneda and Park Stickney, an alumni of the Juilliard School in New York. Castaneda’s multi-layered playing is rooted in the traditions of his Latin American home country while Stickney swings his strings from jazz to rock and classical.

Over in Glasgow, Brendan O’Carroll, in the guise of his comedy character, Mrs Agnes Brown, is taking a sledgehammer to the notion that comedy critics have any influence. Journalists have always lambasted O’Carroll’s show as retrograde, crude and obvious. O’Carroll just points to his soaring figures; shrugs off charges of nostalgia and explains that, especially in a recession, people want warm, family comedies set in more certain times. For The Love of Mrs Brown is at the SECC tonight.

More bleak enjoyment can be had at Cumbernauld Theatre where Edinburgh roots collective, the Southern Tenant Folk Union, air their fifth album, Hello Cold Goodbye Sun. Think along the lines of virtuoso banjo playing and haunting harmonies fleshing out songs set in a dystopian future. A healthy smattering of foot-stomping barnstormers will provide good cheer to balance the metaphorical teeth-gnashing.

www.citz.co.uk; www.harpfestival.co.uk; www.secc.co.uk; www.southerntenantfolkunion.com