Red Palace at the Vaults
Theatre group Shotgun Carousel has returned to the Vaults theatre with a new immersive cabaret show. Red Palace is a colourful mismatch of styles and genres: circus, dance, music and food. With an exclusive “VIP” ticket, you can dine on a menu created by Annie McKenzie, semi-finalist of MasterChef.
Red Palace is inspired by the Carnival of Venice, and invites the audience to join the Prince and his guests, all heroes and foes from fairy tales. This is a multisensory performance with a Gothic theme. The audience is invited to wear masks and dress up to the level they feel necessary in order to get the most out of the performance. The beauty of immersive experiences is the freedom of escapism – you can be who you want to be.
The Vaults is the perfect location for this style of performance. High ceilings and large open spaces give the feeling of a grand occasion to The Prince’s special event. The theatre was dressed correctly for the Gothic setting, with large wooden beams draped in different fabrics and mood lighting throughout the venue. Constant music accompanies the performance, ranging from modern remixes to classical music of the period.
Following an introduction with the Prince, the audience is invited to travel around the venue, meeting different personifications of fairy tales and hearing their stories. There is a bar in every room alongside the actors, so the audience can have a drink, interact with the characters, or just watch as they take you through their lives in the palace under the Prince’s rule.
The space allowed for a large capacity, which lent the show an atmosphere of fluidity but at times meant it felt unpolished, with a lack of clear direction as to where you should be going, or for how long. There is potential for this performance to be innovative, giving audiences a new view of the fairy tales we know so well; however, with a loose and unstructured script, it fell flat. At times the acting and soundscape adapted to when the dialogue was comic, crude, or frightening, but none of these moods came across convincingly. Red Palace would have benefited from a clearer theme throughout.
Featured photo: Rah Petherbridge
Red Palace is at the Vaults from 2nd October until 12th January 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.