Abandon – The Most Twisted Show in Vegas
Written by: The Bat
Immerse yourself in the horrifying world of the Marquis de Sade as you descend into the dark abyss of his deranged asylum. Brace yourself for a truly unique theatrical experience where psychological terror, grotesque beauty and edgy kink collide to create a Halloween show like no other” From the Abandon website.
The creators of Abandon promise a unique experience, and my Readers, they certainly did deliver! I’m not even sure what to categorize this show as, but the term experience seems the best to use. It wasn’t just a play, although it was on the stage and a few of the scenes did seem to tell a story. It wasn’t a haunted attraction, as you do stay in your seat while the actors bring the entertainment to you.
Classifications aside, let me tell you a bit about the show. It was billed as being related to the life of the Marquis de Sade. The Marquis is a historical figure known for writing the erotica of the times. He pushed the boundaries of what was socially accepted. He slept with women far younger than himself and was sent to prison and to asylums for his writings. Despite the punishments and imprisonments, the Marquis continued to write and engage in acts of sexual debauchery until he died in an Asylum. This show touches on a few bits of historical accuracy, such as the Marquis being French and being locked up in an asylum. They also depicted his incorrigible spirit, as no matter how many times his writings are taken away, he continues to try. However, that is where the connections to the real world Marquis stop. The rest of the show is open to interpretation. I think it is the mind of the Marquis, possibly even his writings brought to life.
The Dragon thinks: To me it came off as flashes of the Marquis life before death based on the fast paced scenes of the show.
The somewhat vague plot is not entirely a bad thing. The rest of the experience is exactly as depraved and intense as the website wants you to believe. From the moment you enter the lobby to see a person in a cage, you start to wonder what you’re getting yourself into.
I won’t spoil it by telling you exactly what takes place in that theater. I will say that you can expect a montage of scenes, each as twisted as the last. Some will tell the story of the characters in the asylum. Some just seem to come out of nowhere. Is this what the characters are actually doing, or what the Marquis imagines them to be doing? Does it even matter?
This production does “mood” like none I have ever seen. The lighting, the music, and the scenes on the stage combine to make the audience laugh, gasp, and shudder. The music was composed by Joseph Bishara, the mind behind the score of The Conjuring and Insidious, and he brings his A game for this show. Large portions of the show are in complete or almost complete darkness. This requires the actors to move about the stage and set up their scenes in pitch black, and they didn’t miss a beat.
The acting can make or break a show, and this one was no exception. Each and every person on that stage was incredible. You could tell the actors were truly invested in the show. I could tell that they did not hold anything back, even while doing scenes that made audience members wince.
Jake Noble, one of the performers, describes acting in Abandon as “An intense, but thrilling and fun challenge….Think about sweating excessively, but with blood.”
After going into the show with only a brief inkling of what to expect to see, you leave having seen everything. They build you up for fear in the beginning by telling you that once the show begins, the audience is not allowed to move from their seats. No leaving the theater for any reason. All cell phones and light-up devices must be put away. A feeling of trapped anticipation flows through the room. Then the show proceeds to take you on an emotional rollercoaster. You will wince as they push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable. You will laugh at the sex jokes thrown in, including quite a few dick jokes. You will cry at the scenes that show too harshly the way that mental patients were treated during the 18th century. We left the play feeling mentally elated and at the same time mentally wrung out, just the way good horror is supposed to make you feel.
The only negative I found about this production was a bit of a bait and switch. I read up on the history of the Marquis de Sade before the production. Since the show is described as being about him and his asylum, you would expect to learn a bit about him. First of all, it was not his asylum. He was institutionalized for his sexual indiscretions, and for a while, they did take away his writings, as described in the show. The link to history dissolves there. While I liked the show immensely, it did not show much of the Marquis’ character at all, beyond the bits I mentioned.
Dragon: I don’t know, I saw it as something that could be a starting point to a rabbit hole learning about the Marquis. You know, learning about history… that’s always a good thing right!?
I am not sure whether or not the writers could have described the show better in the advertising. It is difficult for me to describe it to you here! Too much description would ruin a lot of the shock and awe that happens when the audience sees the unexpected.
Abandon is a fascinating display of sexual grotesquery. It was well put together and wonderfully acted. From the St Andrew’s cross victim with the cell phone warning at the start to the dance party at the end, I enjoyed every minute of it. The show continues through the rest of October, and I recommend any of my Las Vegas fans give it a try!