The Burnt City: Here's What We Know About Punchdrunk's Latest Show

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 23 months ago
The Burnt City: Here's What We Know About Punchdrunk's Latest Show
Someone in a silken robe appearing to do the limbo under blue strip lighting
Punchdrunk are back in London for the first time since 2014. Image: Julian Abrams

Punchdrunk are masters of the tease — but as their new show, The Burnt City, prepares to open in London, we're starting to get a feel for what it might entail. Here's what we know so far...

What's all the fuss about Punchdrunk?

If you're not familiar with Punchdrunk, it's an exceptionally creative theatre team, who put on acclaimed, immersive, non-linear shows around the world. They've not been in London since 2014's The Drowned Man, so The Burnt City is kind of a big deal. A member of Team Londonist loved Punchdrunk's last offering so much they went to almost every single show of the run. Seriously.

What's The Burnt City about?

"As the smoke soars on wings to heaven, so sinks our city. In the smouldering promise of the fall of Troy, a mythical world of Gods and mortals rises from the ashes."

So goes the teaser for Punchdrunk's new show. As we say, they don't like to give away too much detail — but a moody, futuristic take on Greek mythology seems a solid bet. To be fair, half the whole point of Punchdrunk shows is that there's no fixed narrative: you're invited to roam wherever you like, to follow characters and explore spaces at your whim. Critics have hailed the concept: "A gigantic, mind-altering labyrinth." All that's asked of you is that you wear a (theatrical) mask.

A woman in a red dress in a room full of mirrors
The last time Punchdrunk were in town was for 2014's The Drowned Man. Image: Punchdrunk

Where is The Burnt City Happening?

Two listed buildings in Cartridge Place, Woolwich will become Punchdrunk's stage — 100,000 square feet in all, so pleeenty of space to explore those whims of yours. A trip to the Savoy Theatre this ain't.

What'll The Burnt City look like?

We're told to expect a 'dystopian landscape' taking in the majesty of royal palaces and the pulsating underworld of Troy. And it'll be inhabited by numerous characters who'll emerge from the shadows, do a bit of interpretive dance and maybe even bid you to follow them. For sure, it'll be impressive — after all, it's from the team that created the acclaimed Sleep No More, which took Macbeth and made it noir in a New York hotel.  The press photos that've just been released for The Burnt City (some of which are in this article) feature somewhat obscure images of actors in futuristic garb, apparently doing the limbo beneath strip lighting — unfortunately we can't garner much from that (interpretive dance never was our strong suit).

Not really sure what this means. Image: Julian Abrams

When is The Burnt City Happening, and how do I get tickets?

Shows take place from 22 March-28 August 2022. However, the previews (22 March-17 April) are already sold out. That's how popular this show's going to be. Best availability at time of writing is May/June. Get booking, is our advice.

And how much are these tickets?

£45 for the basic entry, rising to £150 for a VIP package. Certainly not cheap, in other words. But surely not a night out you'll forget in a hurry, either. Oh and if you're fortunate enough to be a Woolwich local, you might qualify for discounted tickets.

Last Updated 22 March 2022