Following the huge success of Divine Proportions, Shotgun Carousel return to The Vaults with a Gothic cabaret guided by an irresistible tale. Directed by Celine Lowenthal, Red Palace is inspired by the vicious narratives of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen but these are not the fairy tale characters we think we know as Snow White joins Gretel, mermaids and the Big Bad Wolf.
Gastro- 2 storyteller and Masterchef semi-finalist Annie McKenzie will provide an exclusive menu for booked diners to enjoy a decadent evening of feast and fantasy. With the allure of the carnivals of Venice, topped up with the Gothic macabre of Edgar Allan Poe, audiences must dance, dine and discover the mystery at the heart of the masked ball. The stories threaded through the production look behind the mask to explore power and duplicity. The Red Palace sheds the binds of gender and sexual conformity to release a world of pleasure and freedom.
Red Palace is coming to The Vaults what can you tell us about it?
Red Palace is a show about duality and pleasure. It brings together glamour and pain, and sex and death, through what is ultimately one big party: the masquerade ball! The audience have to decide who to trust, who to get to know, and who holds the secrets to the Red Palace…
What inspired you to create such a magical event?
We wanted to create an event that conjured the energy, danger, romance and glamour of the Venice Carnivals in the 18th Century, but combined them with a profoundly contemporary aesthetic and energy. We were also directly inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘Masque of the Red Death’, and the short stories of the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen, as well as the various other amazing folk & fairy tale traditions that they were drawing upon.
What’s the most challenging thing about staging Red Palace?
The scale of it! Working in multiple spaces simultaneously, and creating a thrilling audience experience that is equally fulfilling throughout the night. Everything else is easy: the energy, the characters, the story, the drama, are all there in spades already! And working with such a brilliantly talented cast makes my job very easy.
How do you ensure the menu complements the performance?
Working closely with our brilliant chef, Annie Mackenzie, to draw out the theatricality of the food, and all of the amazing tastes and sensations that the food will create for the audience. She is fantastically experienced in pulling together food and theatre, and identifying how the two experiences are already in many ways very similar!
What do you think is the toughest part for the performers in Red Palace?
The show is going to be very physically demanding in many ways, and it requires a lot of energy, focus, and finesse. It also requires a great deal of improvisation and thinking on your feet: working with a live audience, where they are in many ways the central character, creates its own unique challenges. You never know what an audience member might do, or how they might respond! But that aspect is also incredibly fun, really challenging and really exciting!
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Red Palace?
Come and enjoy the ball! Wear a mask, have a drink, and get stuck into the Palace in all its strange glory. And remember, fortune favours the brave…