The Grand Paradise: Theater review by Adam Feldman
You may be kicking sand out of your shoes and your brain for a while after attending Third Rail Projects’ The Grand Paradise, set at a Fantasy Island–style tropical resort hidden in a warehouse space in Bushwick. Like the company’s popular Then She Fell, the piece is a captivatingly sensual interactive adventure. After an initial group welcome, you wander through a labyrinth of locations (including a beach and a fountain), immersed in a whirl of music, dance and ’70s atmospherics. Over the course of two hours, thanks to the remarkably high cast-to-audience ratio, you are sure to have several moments of alone or near-alone time with the 20 nubile performers, who take you aside for intimate encounters.
Because the show runs on many different tracks at once, arranged around the self-discovery voyages of five archetypal characters, every visitor to The Grand Paradise has a different experience; mine included a slow dance in a girl’s bedroom, a voyeuristic view of a naked young man and a rueful meditation on the passage of time. The show’s running themes are love, death and the space where they meet, otherwise known as nostalgia. This escapist world is our oyster, where each grain of sand in an hourglass has a shot at becoming a pearl.—Adam Feldman
The Grand Paradise (Off Broadway). Written and directed by Zach Morris, Tom Pearson and Jennine Willett. With ensemble cast. 2hrs. No intermission.
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