Top immersive shows to catch this season
If jumping into a production feet-first is your thing, then check out this selection of shows
Earlier this month, WhatsOnStage's Ollie Ainley gave us the low-down on immersive theatre – what it's all about, where it came from and why it's proving popular. And popular it is – just check out some of these immersive shows playing up and down the country this season.
1. Crisis? What Crisis?
The Colab Factory is well-known for turning out immersive hits – a venue in Southwark dedicated to staging productions that involve audience interaction and participation. Crisis? What Crisis? is artistic director Owen Kingston's latest show – taking participants back to Britain on the brink of political collapse in 1979, this live-action board game gives players the chance to take control of the country and attempt to veer it away from (or into) meltdown. Playing at the Colab Factory, London until 8 December.
2. A Christmas Carol in Brighton
Looking for an immersive dining experience, with a menu specially designed by a MasterChef champion? Sounds like the perfect Christmas treat! The Flanagan Collective's adaptation of the Dickensian classic will be served during a two-course festive feast. Playing at The Windmill, Brighton from 3 to 29 December.
3. Club 2B
The Belgrade Theatre's studio space is transformed into an immersive cabaret this Christmas for the arrival of Club 2B. It's a great excuse to dress up and explore a series of theatrical performances while you eat, drink, take a chance at the gambling tables and dance away to a live band. And who is the host for the evening? None other than Greek god Zeus, of course. The show is directed by Corey Campbell, one of the co-artistic directors for Coventry's year as City of Culture in 2021. Playing at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry from 11 to 31 December.
Want an invite to an interactive party experience, a surprise 30th birthday for an unwitting guest? Then come along to Souvenir, a specially curated show that is hosted at audience homes and made unique for each guest at every performance. Currently booking at secret London locations until Christmas 2019.
5. A Christmas Carol at Immersive LDN
This interactive dining version of A Christmas Carol plays in London, at the same venue as The Great Gatsby. The catering team Flavourology are behind productions like Gingerline, the immersive dining experience company that initially hosted supper clubs on the London Overground. This show combines the classic tale with such culinary twists on Christmas classics as confit turkey leg and stuffing pie and sticky figgy pudding with Christmas pudding ice cream. Playing at Immersive LDN, London from 27 November to 5 January.
6. A Christmas Carol at Theatr Clwyd
This immersive version of a Christmas Carol comes to north Wales venue Theatr Clwyd. Audiences are invited to explore the Victorian street while its residents live their day-to-day lives, before being transported to a dream world with all the usual ghostly faces. Suitable for all the family, this is an immersive show full of Christmas cheer, music and mystery. Playing at Theatr Clywd, Mold from 13 December to 5 January.
7. Red Palace
Step into the Vaults underneath Waterloo Station this season and take part in a Gothic masquerade ball inspired by the likes of the Brothers Grimm, Edgar Allen Poe and Hans Christian Andersen. Red Palace mashes up a variety of different stories with characters like Snow White and Red Riding interacting with assassins and alchemists. Playing at the Vaults, London until 12 January.
8. Survive the Nightmare
Well, this is certainly something different this Christmas – a pop-up immersive horror experience that blurs the lines between theatre and sound design. This sonic performance inside a shipping container plunges its audience into total darkness and follows the story of a young couple moving into a dilapidated Victorian house. Only 20 minutes long, but that's more than enough for this frightening production. Playing at a secret Manchester location from 29 November to 12 January.
9. Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders
What could be more festive than a pantomime? Well, this one combines the classic performance format with a full banquet and party to create an immersive dining experience, found underneath Waterloo station this Christmas. The company Darling and Edge last brought Beauty and The Feast to the Vaults and now they're back with another fairytale-based production. Four courses fit for a prince. Playing at the Vaults, London until 14 January.
10. United Queendom
Kensington Palace plays host to a new immersive experience from the renowned Les Enfants Terribles (Alice's Adventures Underground) in 2020, with audiences invited into the world of King George II's mistress Lady Henrietta Howard and his wife Queen Caroline – two powerful women, often overlooked and forgotten by history. Set within this historic royal palace, the story unfolds in the State Apartments, the very rooms where the duo's tale took place in the 18th century. Playing at Kensington Palace, London from 28 February to 30 March.
11. The Great Gatsby
It's the ultimate in hedonistic immersive experiences, and The Great Gatsby is bigger than ever! The UK's longest-running immersive production by The Guide of Misrule has moved to a West End venue and is an opulent dining experience full of excess and extravagance. Welcome to the roaring '20s, complete with catering partners Flavourology who have produced a bespoke menu for audience members before the show. Currently booking at Immersive LDN, London until 31 May.
Fancy passing Go and collecting £200? Well, when this immersive version of Monopoly comes to London in 2020, Selladoor Worldwide and Hasbro Inc will give its audience the chance – figuratively speaking, of course. 75 minutes of activities and challenges will allow participants the opportunity to move along the board and buy property. To play at a secret London location in 2020.