I entered the CRIMSON CABARET before I even set foot in the building. Five documents from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agence arrived through a link in my email. All I can gather is that Boris Engel seems to leave a trail of dead bodies in his wake. My intel suspects that Engel will be at Berlin’s exclusive CRIMSON CABARET the very same night that I am scheduled to be a patron. My attendance is required to locate Engel and await further instructions.

Photo Credit: Destiny Petrel

Pardon my lack of eloquence and professionalism; however, I would be remiss to start this review without plainly saying that I absolutely loved my experience at the CRIMSON CABARET and believe that most people will too. Upon entering the space, I immediately was taken in with the spaciousness of the hallway, the dim red lights, and an eerie sense that something was not quite right that night at the cabaret. A large stage surrounded by tables filled with guests drinking and socializing awaited me. As a somewhat socially anxious person, it was extremely easy to socialize with all the other guests who were welcoming and hungry for information to complete their mission. Each guest creates a unique identity and is given a specialized mission that requires interaction with cast members to complete. However, with everyone dressed in 1960s cocktail apparel, it is somewhat difficult to differentiate between guests and cast members in the dim light of the cabaret. This results in a heightened experience of immersion and a welcoming environment to begin your investigation.

Although there is a high level of interaction with characters who wander around the space making conversation with guests, the participant has a fair amount of autonomy in choosing their desired level of interaction. A variety show takes place throughout the entire immersive experience which allows participants to sit at a table and watch from start to finish. Singing, tap dancing, a cancan number, waltzes, tangos, sing-alongs, aerial acrobatics, and burlesque are all performed in conjunction with a live band during the experience. The MC, Ryan Leslie Fisher, portrays the perfect master of ceremonies by rallying the crowd in a way that encapsulates the charm and lavish nature of the cabaret. Mimi (Sara O’Dwyer) and Lizette (Catie Faye Smith) are showcased as not only talented performers but also extremely lovable characters that play off of one another very well. Overall, all the performers on the crimson stage were extremely talented and delightful to watch.

Photo Credit: Destiny Petrel

Whispers of KGB, secret codes, and mysterious deaths were also an extremely compelling aspect of the CRIMSON CABARET. The majority of my interactions involved Boris (Alan Grinberg) who remastered the art of being both serious and also unintentionally comical at the same time. Whereas Varinka (Rene Lovit) portrayed a larger than life and intentionally funny ostentatious Russian Countess. My interactions with Varinka were a major highlight of my night at the cabaret as her silly and lighthearted demeanor never ceased to put a smile on my face. Although my interaction with Frappier (Jared Isaac) and Desmond (Jason Paul Field) was limited in comparison, I was very impressed by the capacity of both performers to improv and explain away my difficult probing questions.

The Unmarked Door‘s CRIMSON CABARET is an all-around exceptional piece of immersive theater. Everything from performers, to the storyline, to set design was masterfully crafted. There are multiple tracks in this experience which allows for repeatability and ensures each guest can have a unique experience. It wasn’t until after my time at the cabaret that I realized how big the space actually is. I was surprised to learn that there were several secret rooms that I completely missed. It is impossible to see and learn everything about the cabaret your first go around. Furthermore, the ability to watch a first-rate cabaret in its entirety and also the option to frequently interact with cast members makes this experience suitable for both fans of light and heavy theatrical immersion. For a unique experience that you won’t easily forget, make sure to grab tickets here.

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