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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Average User Rating
2.9 / 5
- 5 star:3
- 4 star:0
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- 2 star:1
- 1 star:3
This show was disappointing and is definitely overrated and overpriced. Third Rail's Then She Fell was one of the best evenings of theater I've ever experienced, but this is not Then She Fell. Nor is it Sleep No More. It is far less plotted and intricately designed than Then She Fell, and far less lush in its details and performance than Sleep No More. The space is very small, and the show gets repetitive as you cycle back through spaces and performances that feel like "filler" rather than part of the immersive experience. The show tries to get audience members to ponder the effects of giving into one's desires almost to the point of losing oneself, but it mostly comes off as cheap voyeurism with a couple of deep thoughts thrown in. While some of the set details are thoughtful (the original 70s-era magazines, the turntables and bedroom scenes), the general beach and tiki bar atmosphere is too simplistic to create a convincing immersive experience. And 60 audience members at a time is way too many. This is a commercial rather than artistic endeavor. At $150/ticket, it's ridiculously overpriced. This level of theater should cost $60 max.
I am sorry I saw it the night before it closed. If I had seen it sooner I could have warned people to save your $120 on the amateurish, badly acted spectacle. The actors all seem to be trying way to hard and if there was supposed to be an erotic side to this performance it went over my head. The actors did not really seem to fit the parts and I never felt I actually knew what was going on at any given moment. If there was a story, I say again, it went over my head. The sets were good which gave me hope upon entering but that hope soon turned into looking at my watch to see how much longer I would be stuck there. From reading other reviews there may have been some goings on that I missed, but I find that hard to believe because the entire set was not that large and I felt like I had been in the same places over and over. And the choreography! There was lots of wriggling and swaying but enticing dance performances just were not there. I would be very hesitant to see any Third Rail Productions again.
This was terrible. Annoyed I had to spend $30 each way on an uber to Bushwick, on top of the already steep ticket prices, $115 per ticket! The actors were alright, but the story was not good, and these actors were NOT dancers, altho some really tried. There were a few uncomfortable scenes of "dancing" that were so awkward I wanted to leave the room. This show wants so bad to be Sleep No More but it really isn't. It lacks vision, attention to detail, talent, and the list goes on. I would pay $15 for this tops. I was not alone in this, most of the audience seemed to feel the same. I don't understand all these good reviews. I would absolutely recommend staying away from this unless you are truly bored and have seen everything else in NYC.
Beautiful piece of art. I was completely immersed in the story and the atmosphere of the island. If you are a theatre lover - try something new. GO SEE THE GRAND PARADISE
Wonderful show, have been twice and would go again. An imaginative escape for an evening... Beautiful dancers, smart choreography, very sensitive movers that create an extremely tangible environment. A great way to spend an evening getting away to the beach while staying in New York. There are several quiet moments when all the elements combine to make a really transcendent point - I found this moment both from the rockstar-goddess in a gorgeous, disco-ball shimmering room, and by the Venus, siren character in an underground cave filled with hour glasses. These introspective moments are when the dialogue really lands with the same punch as the fully-realized world the physical movement lives in.
I really loved this show. I am a big fan of immersive theater experiences. I've seen Sleep No More, Then She Fell, Here Lies Love, and Queen of the Night among others. If you're looking for an experience where you get to explore and interact with the actors, this is a perfect show for you to see. In Sleep No More I wandered around a big building, often away from the action and did not have any one-on-one personal experience. While I enjoyed the show, I have been looking for something on a smaller scale with more performer interactions.
Grand Paradise is set up for you to have lots of interaction with the performers. I thought the theme was terrific and pushing the audience members to ponder their desires was very effective.
I see the prior reviewers did not feel fully "immersed" in the experience. Apart from flying to a tropical island to take in this kind of experience, I used the environment that Grand Paradise set up and used my imagination to be fully transported. Also, I believe the ratio of performers to audience members is 3 to 1, which permits for lots of interactions with performers, which enhances the experience.
While immersive theater type experiences are not for everyone, if you're a fan of the genre, you'll love this show. Within the show there are different experiences happening at the same time and you can't take everything in on your first visit.
I plan to see Grand Paradise again.
This show is bad. They present a predictable story with no content. At first they present you with a shamble of this bad story and bad acting to then take you into what it seems like a more intimate journey with some really badly written type of solo lines that have no depth or relation to the show and are cheesy and flat. The design is beyond bad with no attention to detail and the choreography is embarrassing. I would recommend anyone to save that money for anything else. The drinks are really not worth it either. I'm shocked with the above review. I don't think we went to the same show