Faust, the companys epic event that over took an eight storey warehouse in Wapping, was the theatrical hit of last year. So its no surprise that tickets to their eagerly anticipated Masque of the Red Death, based on the writings of Edgar Allen Poe and now on at the BAC, were snapped up faster than a Kate Moss waistcoat.
But for those of you left bereft get yourselves to their unique after show gig- Prosperos Party- a night that delivers a slither of Punchdrunks trademark shock and awe and then dissolves into a fantastic evening of live music, dancing and cabaret. And it takes place every Friday and Saturday night during the run.
Masque sees the BAC, a former Victorian town hall, have its insides and auditorium utterly transformed into a chaotic, bohemian dance hall which is the stage for this carnival created to forget the hideousness of the plague-the red death- and the world outside.
You arrive and are handed a mask and passing through the cloakroom you enter the low lit bar full of other masked participants. Actors cavort with you in this dark ante chamber, drawing you into the narrative. It is intimidating and exciting.
But as soon as you have found your feet in this strange new world the curtains are drawn back and you are funneled, careening into the main hall to watch the show’s breath taking final scene and join theatre goers who have watched the full production.
It does not matter that you have no reference points, and are totally disoriented, it just makes the frenzy of lithe bodies dancing in front of you all the more mesmerizing.
And it is in the wake of being dazzled by this visual and physical assault on the senses that the party begins and you are hurled into this ludic, liminal space where spontaneity and decadence are de rigueur. On the night I went the billing was a smoky voiced lounge singer, a cascade of 80s and juke box classics, followed by a rip roaring Scottish Ceildh finishing towards 1am. But the line up changes every night.
But its not just the music that makes it, wearing masks also produces a strange effect, with the anonymity becoming a defacto licence for licentious behaviour and one helluva feel good, anything goes party atmosphere. Think of the best wedding reception you have ever, ever been to; the drinking, the dancing, the instant camaraderie, the impromptu chats with randoms, and the clinch with a gorgeous captivating stranger, well that is a night at Prospero’s Party.