6 Immersive Theatre Shows To Book Now
Immersive is the word du jour, with everyone from Netflix to Saatchi Gallery getting involved. But arguably the most fun type of immersive experience is the theatrical show, where live actors, cutting-edge technology and eye-catching sets transport you to another time and place. Fancy heading to one of Jay Gatsby’s parties? Or meeting the Peaky Blinders gang? Here are some of the best immersive theatre shows to book now.
Best Immersive Theatre in London
The Great Gatsby
Jay Gatsby’s parties were renowned for their extravagance, the crème de la crème for the upper echelons of the Jazz Age – as Fitzgerald put it, ‘men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars’. And now us mere mortals have a chance to experience them, thanks to an immersive adaptation from Alexander Wright. You’ll be transported back in time to the Roaring Twenties, a period of post-war festivity and prosperity. Rather than recounting Fitzgerald’s original 1925 novel, this play offers the chance to experience the world he created. Characters are allowed – and encouraged – to improvise, continually engaging with the audience. Don your best 1920s attire for this one: think flapper dresses, straw boater hats and headbands. Read our full review here
The Gunpowder Plot
This new immersive experience invites audiences to journey back to the events of 1605, when Guy Fawkes and a group of conspirators plotted to blow up parliament. Taking place in a purpose-designed space beneath the Tower of London – the site where much of the prelude to the Gunpowder Plot took place – the show features a mix of live theatre, technology and virtual reality, with Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films) taking on the digital role of Guy Fawkes. Visitors are tasked with infiltrating the plotters’ inner circle and making a dangerous attempt to escape the Tower. Expect a high-energy experience that engages all your senses, complete with motion simulators and impressive special effects.
Peaky Blinders: The Rise
The show may have finished on screen, but a new immersive experience offers the chance to get your Peaky Blinders fix elsewhere. Taking place in Camden Garrison, just moments away from the actual film set, the show plunges guests into 1920s London – around series two – as Tommy Shelby fights to gain control of London city. Live actors will place you at the heart of the Shelby Company, taking you around key locations from the show such as the betting shop in Small Heath and the bakery on the banks of Regent’s Canal. Audience participation is a big element here: you’ll pick a side, place bets (with fake money), play cards and ultimately influence the ending of the show.
The Burnt City
Acclaimed theatre company Punchdrunk returns to London for the first time in eight years with The Burnt City, which tells the story of the greatest Greek tragedy, the fall of Troy. Set across three Grade II-listed buildings in the company’s new home in Woolwich, The Burnt City takes viewers to a dystopian world where Greece teeters on the brink of victory. This is no traditional theatre experience: you’re invited to wander at your own will, opening doors and crawling through secret passages. Will you choose to follow the characters who emerge from the shadows? Or will you break free from the crowd and discover mysteries lying in wait at the heart of the labyrinth?
Until 16 April 2023, punchdrunk.com
The Murdér Express
Climb aboard The Murdér Express, an immersive experience set on a glamorous 19th century-style train in East London. Sip drinks from Pedley Street Station’s ‘Seven Sins’ Bar and enjoy food from MasterChef finalist Louisa Ellis as the mysterious story unfolds around you. As you journey to the (fictional) town of Murdér, expect to be joined by characters such as East End Costermonger Frank, music hall star Tilley and local antique dealer Cliff.
Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience
Travel back in time to HG Wells’ dark Victorian England in a multi-sensory immersive experience, taking place at The Old London Metal Exchange. Using immersive theatre, virtual reality, augmented reality holograms and other cutting-edge technology, visitors will be able to experience the fictional Martian invasion narrated in HG Wells’ War Of The Worlds, and in Jeff Wayne’s musical interpretation of the story. Audiences will be guided along in small groups of 12 by live and virtual actors, as they walk, crawl and slide through different scenes: from drinking tea in a Victoria household while Martians roam outside to witnessing an enormous Martian Fighting Machine rise above them in virtual reality. The experience stimulates all the senses – you’ll smell the grass and feel the chill of the story’s famous Horsell Common, and feel the ground shake as the first cylinder lands. The total run lasts for 110 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission in the Red Weed Bar. Finish by enjoying a bite to eat and a drink at the steampunk themed bar.
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