Mississippi bluesman Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil, just as various other characters including violinist Niccolo Paganini reportedly did. But the idea of what we now call a Faustian pact goes all the way back to a play by English dramatist Christopher Marlowe that was first performed in 1594. Doctor Faustus is one of the great literary tragedies, and tells the story of a theologian who sells his soul to the devil in return for magical powers - and of course things don't turn out quite how he expected. A demon named Mephistopheles is sent to serve Faustus for his remaining 24 years on earth, but he soon discovers his dark servant is only capable of providing outdated knowledge and farcical answers. For the rest of the play, Faustus does nothing worthwhile with his powers apart from some juvenile conjuring tricks, and at the climax Mephistopheles comes to collect his soul. The devil wins again. Doctor Faustus may sound like pretty dark stuff, but it also has a fair bit of comedy, and a performance being staged by Hong Kong Microfest at the Fringe Club from November 2-6 will highlight these lighter elements through puppetry and physical theatre. For more details, visit www.microfest.hk .