The Masque of the Red Death, Battersea Arts Centre
It simply cannot fail to be one of the most memorable and mesmerising nights out of the year. Theatre troupe Punchdrunk's last show an interpretation of Goethe's Faust set in an east London warehouse was lauded as "astonishing", "thrilling" and "fiendishly clever". Their new production of Edgar Allan Poe's eerie fable of decadence and complacency, The Masque of the Red Death, promises to be equally spellbinding. Billed as a journey into the macabre world of Poe's imagination, audiences are invited to enter the Victorian edifice of Battersea Arts Centre for an apocalyptic party which will blend atmospherics and impromptu theatre.
Faust was an impressive production, not least for the mist-cloaked cornfields, chilling forests and seedy bars serving real liquor with which the troupe managed to furnish an empty concrete shell. But what really set it above most theatre was the cast's knack for drawing you in.
The audience were clothed in white masks, rendering them faceless wraiths, and frequently got so close to the actors they could feel their breath on their cheek (including one actress who went round snogging unsuspecting audience members).
Tickets cost from pound;25 to pound;40 and previews start this week. Book yours while you still can at www.nationaltheatre.org.ukreddeath.