Immersive theatre, interactive theatre, site-specific theatre; call it whatever the hell you like, but London is bursting with plays and performances that defy stuffy conventions to offer you an experience that’s more like a real life adventure than an evening at the theatre. Walk through fantasy landscapes; eat and drink with actors; get chased by the bad guys; help commit a crime – screw virtual reality, you can do all these things and more in the flesh, in London town. Here’s our round up of London theatre’s wild side.
‘We’re all mad here’, says a grinning purple Cheshire cat. He’s not wrong. I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and it is absolutely bonkers. Well, technically I’m in the Vaults in Waterloo, but it feels like another world. After a sell-out run in 2015, Les Enfants Terribles and ebp’s ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’ has returned to the Vaults for more immersive adventures.
Explore a dilapidated Dalston warehouse in this mysterious immersive show from Secret Theatre Project (not to be confused with Lyric Hammersmith's Secret Theatre). They'll take audiences on an adventure inspired by an unspecified (but violent-sounding) episode in modern history.
This companion show to 'Alice's Adventures Underground' is tons of multi-sensory fun for children aged 5 and up. Theatre company Les Enfants Terribles create the entire weird world of Alice over several rooms underground. Kids have to make choices which determines the way their individual show goes, but the audience come together at the end for a big tea party and play croquet with the Queen of Hearts.
After hugely popular takes on 'Alice's Adventures Underground' and 'The Great Gatsby', The Vaults is letting its hair down with this immersive version of the hippie classic. 1967 musical 'Hair' is a story of free love in the Age of Aquarius, best known for its hit song 'Let the Sunshine In' and a nude curtain call. Hope Mill Theatre’s production of 'Hair' celebrates the musical's 50th anniversary with a young cast and plenty of interactive hippie fun: '60s pop-up dining, beat poetry, stalls selling tie-dye clothes and flower head-dresses, and themed (but hopefully legal) refreshments.
How do you solve a problem like murder? With difficulty, it turns out. Particularly as it’s not just a question of whodunnit but who’s been done in. After a successful Kickstarter campaign last summer, Uncorked Theatre has taken up residency on the top floor of gastro pub Paradise by Way of Kensal Green with an immersive production that’s part play, part murder mystery. Before making your way upstairs into the ‘Paradise Bar and Hotel’, you’re given a mask and a pen and paper to scribble down any suspicious findings, as though you’re playing a real life version of Cluedo. In the main room, the hotel’s highly-strung owner is overseeing rehearsals for a cabaret show with a cast of equally highly-strung dancers - everyone’s a suspect. The opening dance number is interrupted as the music cuts out, the lights fade to black, a gunshot echoes in the room and an eerie voice tells you to respect his rules: no talking and no taking your masks off (which is a shame because they’re horribly uncomfortable). But then again, comfort is not really what this production is about. After all, there’s a murderer in our midst. Following the gunshot, the play takes us back to the start of the day, before the crime. The action weaves in and out of four rooms, leaving you constantly on edge that you’re missing some vital clue that’s unfolding in another room. The show feels a bit chaotic at times, but it’ll get your pulse racing way more than a rainy afternoon spent trying to work out what Profess