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Fabulously wealthy and spectacularly eccentric, William Beckford (1759-1844) produced his glittering gothic masterpiece The History of Caliph Vathek at the age of 22.
With rare empathy for the world of Islam, Beckford charts the operatic decline of his Faustus-like anti-hero literally from the summit of his gigantic tower on the fabled site of Babel to the appalling subterranean halls of the fallen angel Eblis and eternal damnation.
Urged on by his appalling mother Carathis, and pawn to the terrible, bloodthirsty demon Giaour, Vathek’s ambition, greed, vanity, lust, blasphemy and sensual excess drive his epic journey to disaster.
This fast-paced adaptation offers a fear and wonder-filled showcase for bravura performance, bold direction, shrewdly sumptuous design, puppetry, trickery, dazzling light, dance and wild theatricality.
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