You might recall us raving last year about theatre company Punchdrunk's performance of Faust in a disused warehouse in Wapping. We loved the way they occupied the whole building, encouraging visitors to wear masks and walk among the actors as they wordlessly played out the story. You could choose to stay in a room and wait and watch as actors drifted in and out, or follow actors around as they carried out their routine. We got the impression that the actors would play their part whether there were a hundred attendees watching, just one, or even none. The whole thing felt slightly unsettling.
Well, booking has just opened for Punchdrunk’s new performance – an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s allegory about the inevitability of mortality, The Masque of the Red Death. Taking over the whole of Clapham's Battersea Arts Centre, it sounds like the show will have much the same feel as their production of Faust. The party guests in the story all wear masks – which will sit nicely with Punchdrunk's tradition of requesting theatregoers to don facewear!
If that weren’t enough, they’re going to have late night post-show parties on Fridays and Saturdays ominously titled Red Death Late Nights, with live music and dancing – though you’ll pay slightly more for the privilege. Oh, and evening dress is apparently optional – but think how much more fun it’ll be if you make the effort. We know we will!
Booking started a few weeks ago, and already some of the Saturday nights are already full. More frugal Londonist readers might be interested to see that reduced price tickets are still available for previews on 17 to 19 September!
The Masque of the Red Death by Punchdrunk in collaboration with the National Theatre, at the Battersea Arts Centre, 17 September to 27 October (not Sundays). Tickets are £30 Monday to Thursday, £35 Friday and Saturday. For more information visit the National Theatre website here, and for more information about Punchdrunk look here.
By Michael Reeve