On February 26th, The Knockturnal was honored to attend a performance of Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel. As Oz’s guests we received priority entry, a complimentary coat check, and a reserved table at the Manderlay Bar. Beginning March 7th, all guests must provide proof of vaccination, including proof of a booster shot, to enter.
On arrival, staff locked our phones in a small purse to be worn around the shoulder and handed us each a hotel key in the form of a playing card. We were then escorted up to the Manderlay, a 1930s-style bar where a variety of themed cocktails were on offer. I had the McKittrick, which had a good deal of rum, and later, tried the Sleep No More, which came with a sprig of lavender for style.
When the show was ready, we were invited to don skeleton masks and given free range to roam the hotel with one rule – that from that point on no one was to speak a word. We stepped through the doorway, and already had a choice to make. Up or down the staircase. “Fortune favors the bold,” the porter advised. We chose to go down.
We proceeded turn by turn down another jagged hallway and passed a stone angel holding a candle cupped in her hands. The next doorway led to a mezzanine overlooking a ballroom. Down on the stage below was a long white-clad table reminiscent of an infernal The Last Supper, where actors, bathed in colored lights, engaged in slow-motion revelry, taking part in many a deed without a name. The scene conjured the mood of dark enchantment that would come to haunt the hotel for the rest of the night.
The next few hours we wandered from room to room and floor to floor bearing witness to a phantasmagoria of eerie vignettes. Figures leapt and danced, cried, made love, fought, and shouted before whisking themselves off to other rooms, all while we guests gazed on, mute specters, privy to the wild passions of a bygone age. Classic jazz wafted through the hotel as if from an old-fashioned radio but with undertones of a dark synthetic drone that swelled to a discordant chorus whenever the action got particularly diabolical.
There is no right or wrong way to experience the show. In our ramblings, we explored a forest, a graveyard, an infirmary, forsaken storefronts, a gloomy chapel, and much, much more. One never knew what drama might be playing out around the next corner. The acting, production, design, and lighting left us in awe.
Sleep No More is an extraordinary experience. Run and get your tickets today.