CAN anyone tell me why the plays of Christopher Marlowe aren’t put on in Manchester more often?

I ask the question after watching his masterpiece Dr Faustus, in a stunning new production at the city’s Royal Exchange Theatre.

This isn’t for the faint hearted and there are shocks in abundance, so convincingly staged you’ll find yourself looking over your shoulder at times.

Marlowe’s work is really accessible and while his writing style is deceptively simple, he uses words to devastating effect.

Killed in a pub fight while he was only in his late 20s, this brilliant playwright was a contemporary of Shakespeare and we can only wonder what he would have gone on to achieve had he lived longer.

The story centres around Dr John Faustus (Patrick O’Kane) who sells his soul to Lucifer in return for the services of Mephistopheles, a demon who has the power to turn the academic’s wildest dreams into reality. But Lucifer wants something in return - the soul of Faustus. O’Kane and Ian Redford (Mephistopheles) are a potent double act and Redford’s kindly appearance makes his character even more scary because we all know the evil it is masking.

I was gripped and transfixed by this, a production that allows the audience to overdose on spectacle, while, at the same time, not losing sight of what the play is about. Do not miss this.

* Until October 9. The box office is on 0161 833 9833. Star rating - *****