The London Blitz

Plague! Arson! Smut! A visit to Britain’s classy theater.

Though the acting is inconsistent (admittedly, portraying risen corpses and possessed gentlemen poses a challenge), each room is fitted with a painterly level of detail. Open a drawer and find it stuffed with rich fabrics; turn over a card and read a missive from one character to another; sniff an empty glass and smell the heady scent of just-drunk wine. As Poe writes in “The House of Usher,” “There are combinations of very simple natural objects that have the power of affecting us,” and Masque’s creators have read their Poe. That said, the production doesn’t really illumine the stories, nor does it offer much in the way of intellectual content, but had I stayed another day, I would have tried to see it again. Happily, according to The Guardian, the show will travel to New York in the spring. I can’t imagine where they’ll stage it—what venue could be large enough, gorgeous enough, decrepit enough—but I’ll keep my evening wear and opera cloak at the ready.

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