Saucy, gothic drama comes to Hong Kong in Secret Theatre's Wan Chai show

Don’t expect serious theatre or even much of a plot in this immersive, interactive show. It’s saucy fun, though, with dancers thrusting their flesh in your face and wardrobe malfunctions galore

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 1:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 3:30pm

3/5 stars

The Secret Theatre is meant to be just that – a secret. So first up, a massive spoiler alert: do not read any further if you plan to go and want to be kept in the dark. But if you want to hear about what felt like a pantomime in a lap-dancing club, then read on.

This is the second run in Hong Kong for the Secret Theatre, an immersive theatre project headed by producer Danny Burke and director Richard Crawford. Last year’s production saw the audience spirited off by boat to a remote island for a show based on the movie, Se7en. We had high expectations for this show.

Without wanting to give everything away, let’s just say there is no exotic boat ride this year. The location is a swanky bar in Wan Chai. While that may seem exotic to the out-of-town crew, Wan Chai isn’t exactly as thrilling or edgy for Hongkongers.

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The audience is told in advance that the theme is dark and gothic – we didn’t get that memo, but it did explain why some men in the audience were wearing heavy black make-up.

You meet some of the cast as soon as you walk in – a couple of beautiful young things decked out in white feathers are sitting on swings and posing for photos. Through a set of thick curtains is the “speakeasy” – grab a seat close to the bar if you can because if you end up around the corner you’ll miss much of the action.

The performance begins within 30 minutes and there’s is plenty of eye candy for the men. If you want to watch a series of sexy dance routines with plenty of flesh and thrusting, you’ve come to the right place. A few “wardrobe malfunctions” mean occasionally you get to see even more. This isn’t what you’d call a plot-driven performance – it’s more a cabaret show interrupted with outbursts of shouted dialogue.

Still, it wasn’t until after an erotic dancer in a cage had launched into a frenzied attack and someone handed me a penis-shaped water pistol filled with holy water that I felt truly engaged.

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I wasn’t the only one confused by the plot. A number of the people I spoke to as we were shuffled around the club were equally lost, but when the lights dimmed, the audience, now a little dishevelled and tipsy, collected for the show’s crescendo. There are giggles and then raucous laughter. We might not be behaving in the way the producers expected, but the pantomime-ish fiasco is starting to be fun.

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Despite the large audience size, most of us got a good view of the gory finale. Someone cheers – inappropriately – but quite honestly it’s hard to know what is appropriate here.

Don’t come expecting serious theatre or even much of a plot. But if you are after a laugh, have money to burn and not averse to some saucy dancing, check out Secret Theatre.

Secret Theatre, until Dec 15, secret location (revealed on purchase of ticket), HK$988, www.ticketflap.com

 

Note: this article has been edited to remove elements of the evening's storyline