How do you review something like Sleep No More without giving too much away, but enticing you to join the fantasy? What I will say is this interactive immersive riff of Macbeth should be included on everyone’s to do list in New York City.
Just the location lends itself to guarantee an exciting night. Forget a theatre in Times Square; Sleep No More is held in three old warehouses in Chelsea. The creators Punchdrunk and Emersive converted the space into what is now referred to as the abandoned McKittrick Hotel.
As I stepped over the threshold into the Mandalay Bar I secretly hoped I would magically be dressed in an elegant sequin flapper gown with finger wave hair. Alas, I guess this only happens in the movies. The 1920’s speakeasy charm lingered in the air, women with champagne coupes, men with tumblers as we waited to be ushered to start our journey.
Fortune favors the bold
Your path in to the Hotel is held in the fortune of a deck of cards, which is also your ticket. Your host Maximillian welcomes and informs you when it is indeed your time to go through, keeping in character with great panache. I actually felt like I was in a real life sophisticated Cluedo murder mystery, with a small part of me expecting to find Colonel Mustard in the Ballroom with the Candlestick.
So what the hell happens now? I went into this knowing very little except that it was an interactive performance. For those who dare to go in with little or no information, stop here, for those that continue I will only give hints and tips about the experience, no spoilers.
Guests are warned not to take of their Venetian masks, nor must they converse with anyone. Staggering the entry times avoids congestion amongst the 5 floors of performances, as they unfold in this glamorous 1920’s hotel and if you expect a linear story, look somewhere else.
I really didn’t know what to expect but I quickly discovered it is not for the faint hearted and can be best likened to that of an Adult’s haunted house but with a Shakespearian twist. Guests of McKittrick Hotel are given creative freedom through the performance, which can last up to three hours.
Each individual experience will be unique and I even encourage groups to split and follow their own paths.
After playing for sold out crowds for two years I now know why Sleep No More tempts those looking for something out of the box. Go in there expecting nothing, embracing everything.
SO here’s to Sleep No More in the city that never does. Remember, “Fortune favors the bold”.