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?
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Average User Rating
3.9 / 5
- 5 star:5
- 4 star:6
- 3 star:3
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:1
Sleep No More was a very mysterious show and drew me in with its mischievous allure. Held at the McKittrick hotel, the show starts dark and confusing almost immediately. You walk into the elevator, are given masks, and told not to speak from that point forward. I had a question, but the actor looked at me and just shook his head. I loved the idea of not knowing who anyone was because of the mask. You're also given a playing card which plays a role in the event. You're allowed to roam the entire space (which is huge). I went into various rooms, looked around, and occasionally ran into an actor or a scene that was happening. There was also a lot of running to try and figure out the storyline by keeping up with the actors. It's a very unique experience, and won't reveal much more so as not to spoil the show.
I finally got to experience this show after wanting to see it for years. Spoiler alert: The McKittrick is NOT an actual hotel. It's a huge venue with multiple floors where they throw this show and other incredible themed parties. My friends and I all dressed up, but we found Sleep No More has become so popular the audience was largely made up of tourists in Abercrombie sweaters and Velcro shoes. Get there a bit early to enjoy some time sipping absinthe drinks at the bar, and don't hold on to whoever you came with once you enter the show. Explore everything, don't run after the characters like a lot of people were doing—take your time, stick with what piques your interests and eat the candy in the candy shop! I did enjoy my time and haven't experienced anything like this, but I also felt the show went on a bit too long.
Let me say that if you aren't into artsy or experimental stuff you aren't going to like this. The theater company did a great job of making this a once in a lifetime, surreal experience though. Creepy and beautiful at the same time. If you're expecting a story/narrative you can follow, don't. If you try your best to follow the main group of actors around you'll get a whole different experience, which is what my friend chose to do. I spent more time looking at the sets and peeking in drawers, getting pulled into back rooms and following minor characters around. Supposed to be loosely based of Macbeth though I don't really know how. If you're looking for a unique experience definitely go but I don't think it's what most people are expecting.
Cool and unusual for sure, and I thought all the characters/actors were wonderful. As a whole though, it didn't live up to the hype for me, and I got a bit bored. I also went to this for a group work outing, not so much by choice, (if you're in a group, you WILL get split up). I expected a bit more, and don't think that the cost of the ticket price would be worth it again for me.
I have really mixed feelings about this place. It's like how sometimes you hear a song with some friends and say "Oh I love this song! Turn it up!" and then it starts playing and you remember you kind of hate this song but are conflicted about saying "Oh, never mind" after being so pumped about it 2 seconds ago. I say that because if a friend were to come to town I'd recommend SNM for sure. But I'm not sure I'd go with them... It's partly great because it's SO different from anything else in NYC. But in the end, I felt like I spent $100+ for my mind to be toyed with. It's a really intense psychological experience (even if you DON'T get pulled into a room and kissed by one of the actresses). I'd say, read up on what it is and decide if it's even interesting to you, but then prepare to have an experience you can never really prepare for, and perhaps to even feel manipulated. It also helps not to care about the ticket price... [5 stars for uniqueness and quality of set/attention to detail. -1 star for price/hype and super creepy, manipulated feeling I was left with afterward]
I love this experience, but hate how popular it has become. When going, please be respectful to the actors and the other people around. Pushing and shoving is very unbecoming.
Sleep No More had me in tingles and looking around in wonder the whole time. I've never been to a production like it. I went with a friend, and we split up and had two totally different experiences. Another friend has been 6 times and says it's been different every time. The production is mysterious, sexy and exciting. The talent of the dancers and actors and getting to be so close to them is intoxicating, and the atmosphere of the darkly decorated building completely transports you. Made me wish I was wearing a 1920s dress while there. If it wasn't so expensive, I would have been back many times by now.
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!