BWW Review: Be Ready to Play Your Part at the CRIMSON CABARET, an Immersive Cold War Hotbed of Spy Intrigue
From Los Angeles-based immersive experience company, The Unmarked Door, and award-winning film and television composer Rolfe Kent (Dexter, Legally Blonde, Sideways, Up in the Air) comes LA's next multi-sensory exploration, CRIMSON CABARET for an evening of immersive interaction, era-inspired craft cocktails, live original songs and music, dark romance, and a world full of secrets.
Attendees will enter a nightclub in 1963 Germany just under the shadow of the Berlin Wall where everyone is a spy and no one can be trusted. During the evening, CRIMSON CABARET guests will engage with secret agents and be slipped notes with assigned missions to complete throughout the evening. All guests are required to dress in 1960s appropriate cocktail party attire and assume a character of their choosing, then bring that character into the space and be ready to do what is asked of you and find the right person who can lead you in the direction where your skills are required during this multi-sensory, immersive theatrical experience. But you see, since everyone is dressed appropriately, how can you possibly know who to trust and who is really playing for the wrong team on this side of the wall?
The week prior to visiting the CRIMSON CABARET, you will receive documents regarding your participation as well as your ID badge to complete and bring with you. On the night we attended, the two of us chose to be Jim, an International Sales Rep, and Cynthia, the saucy TWA stewardess who confronted him changing into his tuxedo in the airplane's restroom. Needless to say, we got to know each other a lot better before the plane landed in West Berlin, arriving from Cairo on our way back to London where we both are based.
It was so much fun to create our backstory, dress our parts, and then play along during the entire show, interacting with each other when we would meet up at the bar between being pulled into other rooms by cast members. And the very adult burlesque show was a treat for the eyes. But I was totally suspicious of that MC from the very start. What was it about him?
But just who can you trust and who is really a double agent? Is the CRIMSON CABARET really just a place for great music, stiff drinks and sexy burlesque dancers, or is it a hotbed of international spy intrigue? I can tell you these are the regulars working there, most of whom you can trust. Just be sure to listen for clues! And remember, the descriptions apply to my experience, but yours may be very different since each performance is guaranteed to be unique as audience members show up and add new characters into the mix each time. Just who will you meet and what will you find out? Be sure to write down important clues in the small notepad handed to you when you arrive to keep track of things you should be remembering.
THE CRIMSON CABABET regulars include:
Jason Paul Field (Desmond) He was the well-dressed man I was directed to check in with to begin my assignment for the evening, A classy guy who seemed to know everyone and was equally suspicious of just as many.
Ryan Leslie Fisher (The MC) His first "willkommen" got my shackles up, fearing he was not anyone I should trust. But he certainly could sing and entertain the crowd with his over-the-top personality. But I could not figure out what it was that Anya saw in him, other than a chance to be a cabaret singer.
Robert Fleet (Noel Coward) What a treat it was to sit at a ringside table and enjoy a cocktail with this talented writer, although all he wanted to do was fill in crossword puzzles. But then, perhaps within the his answers were hidden clues?
Nupeir Garret (Mr. Shirt) A brilliant and sexy man dressed in a white tuxedo who coordinated the entertainment with the band. And he also proved to be a talented tap dancer!
Alan Ginsberg (Boris) The Master Spy who was a suspicious man, always jealous that his girlfriend Anya was fooling around with Lukas or any other man who interested her. After all, Boris traveled often without really telling her where he was going or how long he would be gone.
Jared Issac (Frappier) The ultimate, sexy Frenchman who appeared to know everyone, loved to party, but whose openness might land him in a heap of trouble at any time. Just who was he working for anyway?
Dasha Kittredge (Jones) She appeared to be a Master Counter Spy, although I was never directed to ask her any questions and told by many to keep my distance from her. I suspected she was a Russian spy.
Terence Leclere (Lukas) The tall and oversexed party boy who has been fooling around with Anya. What will happen when Boris returns and discovers them dancing a sexy tango?
Michelle Vezilj (Anya, the headliner) A talented singer, her sexy persona decked out in a red sequined gown, attracted the admiration of all the men in the room. But when Boris returned, the evening turned deadly.
Catie Faye Smith (Lizette, an entertainer), Sara O'Dwyer (Mimi, an entertainer), Emily Yetter (Shirley, an entertainer) These three lovelies made up the burlesque troupe of entertainers, offering many chances to stop and stare while working the room for clues. But he prepared to be pulled away into smaller back rooms by others needing your immediate help.
Tezz Yancy (Otto, the cabaret's manager) Found mostly behind the bar, Otto seemed to see all, know all, but was not willing to share much. Why did he keep disappearing into his office, taking many with him?
Rene Lovit (Varinka, the Russian) Dressed to the nines with an authentic Russian accent, this fun-loving party girl appeared to have more than one mission on her mind during the evening. Just what was she up to and for whom?
Maggie Manyan (Sasha, the other Russian) Along with Varinka, these two Russians were seen meeting in corners over drinks to talk about what they had discovered.
The Happiness Band A talented group of musicians who accompany the entertainers with 23 songs to enjoy, dancers to watch, until you get pulled away into another room and given an assignment. Or to find clues. Or whatever happens....
Just be ready to get totally immersed into the world of Cold War espionage inside the CRIMSON CABARET while playing your part during the remaining performances on Thurs-Fri-Sat-Sun nights through Sunday, December 29 at 7:30pm for the Pre-show, a time to get a drink, socialize, and meet the players. At 8:30pm - The show begins. At 10pm - Enjoy a Post-show gathering at the bar at The CRIMSON CABARET, 747 Salem St, Glendale CA 91203. Free onsite parking. Tickets run $95-$145 and attendees must be 21+ to enter, no later seating. General Admission tickets include 1 free drink; VIP Tickets include 2 free drinks, Special Table Seating, A Special Scene, Extra Attention, and a Secret Clue to Unlock!Be sure to listen to all instructions when you arrive, grab those drink coupons, and be Ready to Play your part. Just be careful who you decide to trust. And be sure to read all materials sent to you prior to attending the CRIMSON CABARET, and decide on who you are and why you have decided to enter this most unique of cabarets as you will be asked to explain yourself frequently. And if you get confused, just ask for Cynthia. I am sure they will remember me!
Thanks to the talented production staff for creating one of the most authentic and wonderfully fun interactive theatrical events I have ever attended.
Rolfe Kent - Writer and composer
Lola Kelly - Writer and director
Savannah Wheeler - Company Manager and composer
Rai Quartley - Choreographer
Jo Ann Mendelson - Fight choreographer
Associate producer Moon/Shine Experiential
Madeleine Maloy - Set & prop design
Amanda Fletcher - Props
Tajka Wierzbick - Costume design
Ali Bayless - Hair & makeup designerYosh Haraguchi - Live audio tech
Rechard Francois - Stage Manager
Pita Taing and Amanda Reynoso - Assistant Stage Managers
and watch out for those "Security" officers!
About The Unmarked Door: The Unmarked Door is a Los Angeles-based immersive experience company that creates whimsical musical worlds to be explored and interacted with. Founded by adventurous spirit and award-winning film composer Rolfe Kent (Dexter, Legally Blonde, Sideways, Up in the Air). Creator of THE HEART OF WINTER, THE WITNESSING, THE SLEEPING SWIM, and TIME TRAVEL CABARET.
Follow along on social at @TheUnmarkedDoor on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube
All photos by Destiny Petrel