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My Masque Of The Red Death review

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ruthiefan_felix
Broadway Legend
joined:10/6/03
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My Masque Of The Red Death review#1
Posted: 2/19/08 at 10:40pm
Masque Of The Red Death is no ordinary show, and I use the word 'show' loosely. The 'show' was more like a personal experience, journey and now writing this review two hours after the performance, it felt more like a dream. Based on the famous short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, the show transports its audiences into a completely mysterious world. All audiences are required to wear a white mask and were informed that no talking is allowed, group traveling is not recommend, it is safer to explore alone. From my first step into the candle-lit room through the curtains, I can feel myself shivering with fear and anticipation.
If you are expecting to follow every or a storyline or basically just to know what is going on, then you will be disappointed. The arts centre is transformed into this huge castle with different rooms, halls, corridors and a forest! Seven of Poe's short stories happen at the same time within the centre and ultimately leading towards the finale from 'Masque of the Red Death'. The whole action is being done twice throughout the show quite unnoticed, allowing audiences a second chance to explore different things. Words and dialects are few in the show and most actions are being expressed beautifully in dance and movements. Every prop and even scent of each room or corridor was designed with delicate care to enchance the whole experience. If you enter a room without any characters inside, do move on, but if you do hang around, read every letter, read every book, it gives you a better insight of the character or the event. Having all these stories happening simultaneously all at the same time, you will find characters passing you by or dashing off to somewhere or disappearing into the dark mists. When one is tired, they can take off their masks, buy a drink, sit back and enjoy cabaret acts and mind-readings performed by the characters in the nightclub Palais Royal.
I was quite scared to walk or explore alone at first since the place was quite dark and the dramatic music in the background didn't help! I went past a dark alley with a perfume shop and wine cellar first, then a oriental opium room, a posh room with fireplace and cards scattered all across the ground then the main stairway which leads me to the forest, the dinning hall, the attic, the entrance and backstage of the nightclub Palais Royal and also underneath all this is the graveyards and the room for the Ushers. Sitting on the band stand and seeing these characters go insane and crazy into a dance and eventually into chaos right in front of you is simply breathtaking.
The lighting was so simple and perfect for this show, really sets out the mood. The actors are just so brilliant! I don't know how they do it but perfect timing and they just seem to know it all: they can sing, they can dance and they can certainly well act! The highlight of the show for me was the finale 'Masque of the Red Death' scene where all audiences are being called into a Hall with lush red lighting, thick mists, venetian lanterns hanging from the ceiling and Benny Goodman's 'Sing! Sing! Sing!' being played in the background. The characters invite and join the audiences in the dancefloor. Then we were all asked to step as further back as possible and the finale begins. The actors fall into a waltz then quite contemporary dancing, with music leading into a climax where a bang, the room is filled with red confetti!!!! Then just when everyone is having fun, a deadly hooded figure walks towards Prince Prospero onstage. Two men stops and holds him, tears off the cloak to discover nothing inside and the Prince falls dead. Brilliant ending and instead of a traditional curtain call, lights just comes back on and actors unmasking audiences into a dance.
Being a company which emphasizes on visual and physical of a story and not the text, the show allows audiences to explore any action up close wherever whenever. It is a very different theatrical experience but it is a worthy and quite incredible one! Now I understand why critics and the public have raved about this show and how completely sold out it is! A big well done to the brilliant actors and also Felix Barrett (Director & Designer), Maxine Doyle (Director & Choreographer) and anyone involved! I hope to see it again and explore different stories before it closes!
All That Jazz Check out & support my drawings @ www.facebook.com/felixdrawings
Updated On: 2/20/08 at 10:40 PM
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Nosferatu
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#2
Posted: 2/20/08 at 5:49am
Paragraphs, pleeeeeaaaaase... It is hard to read!
Sarah bernhardt to a fellow actress: "Have you got stage fright, dear?" "No," the young lady aswered astonished. "Don't worry, it will come along with talent!"
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ruthiefan_felix
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#2
Posted: 2/20/08 at 5:51am
sorry ~
All That Jazz Check out & support my drawings @ www.facebook.com/felixdrawings
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#3
Posted: 2/20/08 at 8:29am
I really want to see this!
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#4
Posted: 2/20/08 at 8:31am
Ive heard nothing but raves about this.
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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Nosferatu
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#5
Posted: 2/20/08 at 8:39am
Thkx sweety
Sarah bernhardt to a fellow actress: "Have you got stage fright, dear?" "No," the young lady aswered astonished. "Don't worry, it will come along with talent!"
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#6
Posted: 2/20/08 at 10:01am
oh i would love to see this too
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#7
Posted: 2/20/08 at 10:59am
re: My Masque Of The Red Death review

Due to close at the National at the end of April and all shows are sold out till then.
The National has little flexibility to extend its shows so maybe this could be its next transfer to the West End???

A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
Updated On: 2/20/08 at 10:59 AM
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devonian.t
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#8
Posted: 2/20/08 at 1:21pm
It's a site-specific at the BAC isn't it? Could they extend their lease?
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ruthiefan_felix
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#9
Posted: 2/20/08 at 2:37pm
It's at the BAC and not National so there might be a chance of extending... I actually think the current deadline is already an extended deadline. I do hope it'll extend! it's completely sold out!!!!!!
All That Jazz Check out & support my drawings @ www.facebook.com/felixdrawings
exedore
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#10
Posted: 2/20/08 at 5:42pm
It's running at BAC, but both BAC and Punchdrunk receive funding and support from the National. And personally, I'm ready for MotRD to close so that the BAC can get something new in (and from what I've heard, the BAC employees want their damn offices back).
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WickedBoy2
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#11
Posted: 2/20/08 at 6:16pm
Got my wires crossed guys -sorry!
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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joshy
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#12
Posted: 2/21/08 at 9:35pm
I'm so glad you liked it Felix! I've seen it six times now, I'm absolutely obsessed with it. Every time is a completely new experience.

Did you have any one-on-ones? (scenes when an actor takes only one audience member away)


Although it's sold out, tickets do pop up on the website occasionally, so it's worth checking continually. Also going down to BAC the evening of the show, you stand a good chance of getting returns.


I was recently able to interview the director and a few cast members and it was absolutely fascinating. re: My Masque Of The Red Death review


WickedBoy2, thanks for giving me a great laugh with the suggestion that the NT should transfer this to the West End!!
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ruthiefan_felix
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#13
Posted: 2/22/08 at 7:36am
there r tickets released at like 5 this morning but when I woke up and checked at 10, it's already sold out again... my friend got a ticket... and didn't get me one!
Anyway, I volunteered last night and it's a great experience! highly recommend!
All That Jazz Check out & support my drawings @ www.facebook.com/felixdrawings
theatrefriend2
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joined:2/28/08
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#14
Posted: 2/28/08 at 8:53am
I saw this show on New Year's Eve and it was wonderful. The New Year's Eve party that I attended afterwards was crazy! I only found out about it through this board. I think the thread was about non-West End plays. I would love to go see this show again, but I will have to pass so that I can go see other productions.
heatherr
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#15
Posted: 2/28/08 at 1:31pm
Well, this certainly sounds interesting!

I'm going to keep an eye on the tickets, in case some appear, I'd love to see it.
heatherr
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#16
Posted: 3/7/08 at 3:03am
Sorry for the double post, but I'm going tonight and I was just wondering if there is a cloakroom to put your bags, coats, etc. in?
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#17
Posted: 3/7/08 at 11:04am
there is just before the show and you can collect your stuff after the party.
All That Jazz Check out & support my drawings @ www.facebook.com/felixdrawings
heatherr
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re: My Masque Of The Red Death review#18
Posted: 3/15/08 at 8:08am
I have now seen it several times, and I love it. It's such an incredible production, and I find it incredible how each time, I'm able to find new scenes and so on. There's just so much, it doesn't get boring. I've had some very odd one-on-one experiences, including having my lips painted with white face paint, and someone hugging and clinging to me for quite a long time.
Updated On: 3/15/08 at 08:08 AM