Red Palace by Cressida Peever.

Red Palace is an immersive interactive adult fairytale-themed production based on the stories from the author’s Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen but with a new twist. Set in The Waterloo Vaults the macabre atmosphere begins from the moment you arrive at the venue, the masked entrance leaves an impression and the curiosity of then wanting to explore the rest of the venue.

Red Palace certainly lives up to its title. The deep rich reds merge with the black decor throughout the ballroom to bring a macabre setting for the main parts of the performance. The other rooms you enter later are all themed to their specific characters.

The VIP package includes a tapas-style four-course meal created by Masterchef Semi-finalist Annie McKenzie. The menu is unusual at first glance. However, the blend of flavours and ingredients are superb. The homemade honey Irish soda bread accompanied by the whipped rosemary butter is amazing, there is no mistaking the honey as it’s sticky to touch and absolutely delicious.

The Storyline is based around the evil Prince played by Eleanor Dillon-Reams as seen above in an outstanding costume and the crown especially is an unusual design. However, do not attempt to touch it, you have been warned!

He proceeds to rule the kingdom by intimidation, control and installing fear in those around him. His only loyal subject is his cat who is never far behind him and reports every detail of information she finds out straight back to him.

After imprisoning a young lady that he met by the water he granted her a wish to be able to dance all the time and through the red shoes always attached to her feet she is forced to dance continually and remain in his castle. The badly matched couple (in character, not the actor) can be seen fighting and arguing throughout most of the evening at first it can feel slightly unsettling even though you are aware that they are in character.

The predominantly all female-led cast deliver this well-written production with what appears to be complete ease. Each of them never faltering once or lapsing out of character.

Joanna Vymeris as seen above in the role of the cat took on the mannerisms and actions of our feline companions in a fantastic performance. The face part if the costume design let her down slightly as the beautifully designed face mask covered too much of her mouth and it became difficult to understand what she was saying much of the time! Which was a real pity as the work she puts into her performance is brilliant.

The entire cast has been faultlessly selected with some awe-inspiring acrobatics, dancing and all of the characters you meet when entering each themed room have an interesting tale to tell and deliver it perfectly. Red Riding Hood named Read in this production really stood out though performer Emily Essery delivered her part clearly and concisely. There is definitely no mistaking why she dislikes the Prince!

Costume designer Maeve Black clearly has an amazing eye for details from the cats all-black costume and stunning harlequin style mask, the mermaids steam room complete with shells and a steam machine to the amazing candelabra dominating the ceiling in the ballroom. everywhere you look the venue is decorated to match its characters significance in the production. It’s easy to miss the secrets that you are meant to compile as there are so many other interesting things surrounding you to distract your attention.

Director Celine Lowenthal has certainly created a very enjoyable immersive Theatre production using all the available space in this part of the Waterloo Vaults. To direct and oversee so many scenes and interactive rooms to all run simultaneously and in exact time with each other is such an impressive accomplishment.

Pictured above in the steam room are Karen aka Aerial (Rosie Rowlands) and the Mermaid (Steffi Walker). From the photo alone the details and beauty of their costumes stand out.

Whether you attend the event in a group, couple or on your own, this is a performance that I would recommend to anyone. Being an immersive production there are plenty of opportunities to interact with other guests and the cast as you gather up the secrets before the truth is unveiled! One thing I took away from the evening’s experience was how many people were really enjoying themselves which is surely a good sign.

Four Stars.

Cast:

Karen (aerial) – Rosie Rowlands

Cat – Joanna Vymeris

The Prince – Eleanor Dillon-Reams

Tom – Ella Prendergast

Snow – Alice Morgan-Richards

Gretel – Emer Dineen

Baba Yaga – Porscha Present

The Mermaid – Steffi Walker

Read – Emily Essery

Wolf – Teddy Lamb

Writer-Cressida Peever

Designer-Maeve Black

Director-Celine Lowenthal

Gourmet themed menu by Masterchef Semi-finalist Annie Mckenzie.

Photographs by Nic Kane Photography.

Performed by:

Red Palace at The Vaults

Leake Street

London

SE1 7NN

From 24th September 2019 to 12th January 2020.

https://www.thevaults.london/red-palace

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