Sleep No More

Critics' pick
McKittrick Hotel, Chelsea Until Thursday December 31 2015

To untimely rip and paraphrase a line from Macbeth: Our eyes are made the fools of the other senses, or else worth all the rest. A multitude of searing sights crowd the spectator's gaze at the bedazzling and uncanny theater installation Sleep No More. Your sense of space and depth---already compromised by the half mask that audience members must don---is further blurred as you wend through more than 90 discrete spaces, ranging from a cloistral chapel to a vast ballroom floor. Directors Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle, of the U.K. troupe Punchdrunk, have orchestrated a true astonishment, turning six warehouse floors and approximately 100,000 square feet into a purgatorial maze that blends images from the Scottish play with ones derived from Hitchcock movies—all liberally doused in a distinctly Stanley Kubrick eau de dislocated menace.

An experiential, Choose Your Own Adventure project such as this depends on the pluck and instincts of the spectator. You can follow the mute dancers from one floor to the next, or wander aimlessly through empty spaces. I chose the latter, discovering a room lined with empty hospital beds; a leafless wood in which a nurse inside a thatched cottage nervously checks her pocket watch; an office full of apothecary vials and powders; and the ballroom, forested with pine trees screwed to rolling platforms (that would be Birnam Wood). A Shakespearean can walk about checking off visual allusions to the classic tragedy; the less lettered can just revel in the freaky haunted-house vibe.

The only caveat I would offer is to attend Sleep No More fully rested: You need your wits about you. All the same, stumbling groggily up and down staircases and around darkened hallways gives the night the sludgy, abstracted aura of a nightmare. But is it your bad dream, or have you slipped inside Macbeth's?—David Cote

Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote

Venue name: McKittrick Hotel
Address: 530 W 27th St
New York

Cross street: between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
Transport: Subway: C, E to 23rd St; 1 to 28th St
Event phone: 866-811-4111
Event website:

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Anmarie S

A very unique experience where you are immersed into and a part of the story all the way through... Definitely go!


Hands down the coolest thing I have ever been to! From the moment you "check-in" to the McKittrick Hotel, you are thrust into a different time. The 40's vibe you get from the speak easy and the singer that croons up on stage is amazing. Absinthe shots and all sorts of other drinks are available for purchase. My friend did not want to split up at first but since our cards that were given to us were different numbers we decided to meet up later. Obviously, meeting up later happened on accident. If you want to bump into a friend after going in separately there are some opportunities where you will get to do so but make sure you remember what they are wearing because otherwise you'll never find them with the creepy white masks that everyone wears. Do not take your mask off; they (quietly) yell at you! I wandered off in hopes to get a one on one and I did with the taxidermist. I won't go into any details because what is the fun in that! If you love the thrill of running through six floors and chasing people anonymously; this is the place for you! Wear comfortable shoes and do your best to attend the latest show you can. The ending at 2 am is unbelievable!