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Review: The Red Room at The Grand Theatre

The Red Room
The Red Room
The Red Room

Sunday evening saw David Hughes Dance’s The Red Room come to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre. Altblackpool’s Alfie McKenzie was there on the night to give you an insight into this dark dance interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s, The Masque of The Red Death.

Edgar Allan Poe is that rare kind of writer, whose bibliography is celebrated and interpreted even hundreds of years after his death. His creepy tale of decadence, debauchery and death, The Masque of the Red Death, has been revisited in a number of ways in the past, but David Hughes Dance’s The Red Room really manages to find new angles to explore.

The atmosphere created by the expert team of dancers was intense from the outset, with jerking movement and minimalist set design providing an air of isolation, essential to Poe’s allegory on the inevitability of death. The Red Death, Poe’s imagined plague, makes its way through Prince Prospero’s seven rooms with an ever-growing sense of foreboding; the ominous sounds get progressively louder, whilst the guests become fewer, and we as the audience are in a constant state of intrigue.

The Red Room
The Red Room

Whilst this story has often been told with intricate design and on-stage spectacle, The Red Room is so inherently physical that our story is boiled down to its raw components. For those not familiar with the story, I believe a general sense of moral decay and corruption can still be understood from the production, though plot structure does seem to be an afterthought.

Seductively flamboyant at first, The Red Room will invite you into a dark and genuinely thoughtful piece of art. We are presented with a crucible of the human condition between Prospero’s walls. It is as merciless to its audience as Poe is with his characters, and promises a treat for any art and literature buff.

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