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Photo: Dr. Who Time Fracture, Magic Mike Live!, and The Great Gatsby

Non-traditional shows to see in London

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

The West End is bursting at the seams with theatres of all shapes and sizes. West End theatres house the latest musicals, award-winning plays, and Broadway transfers, allowing audiences to experience a variety of theatre shows. But if you take a few steps away from the bright lights of London's West End, there's plenty of immersive, non-traditional shows in London that are well worth a visit too.

Immersive shows are an all-encompassing type of theatre experience. Immersive theatre productions typically take place in multiple rooms, and audiences can walk through different spaces to be a part of the production's world. If you've wished you could step back in time, then there are historical immersive shows that are designed to explore past eras. Or, if you're a fan of the circus, then Cirque du Soleil shows combine all the thrills and spills of a circus show while sitting in a theatre space.

Non-traditional shows also use alternative venues too, such as restaurants, casinos, and club spaces. So if you want to see a theatre show that deviates from the norm, shake up your theatregoing with these non-traditional shows in London. Here are the some best non-traditional theatre nights out in London.

Secret Cinema X Marvel Studios' Guardian of the Galaxy

The 2014 Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy, is the latest film to receive the Secret Cinema treatment. Step into a new world and explore the intergalaxies in an unbelievable theatre experience. There'll be interstellar raids, smugglers and thieves to contend with in a two-hour immersive experience. As with all Secret Cinema events, it's a 360-degree sensory explosion. You'll feel as though you've left Earth. Visit new territories — via a secret London location — and venture into new galaxies. Once you're fully immersed, you're invited to see the film afterwards too.

Book Secret Cinema X Marvel Studios' Guardian of the Galaxy tickets on London Theatre.

Punchdrunk: The Burnt City

Head to ancient Greece via London's newest immersive theatre at Punchdrunk's The Burnt City. The three-hour experience allows audiences to delve into a time-old world. Walking through downtown Troy is no longer a thing of the past, it's happening right now.

Book Punchdrunk: The Burnt City tickets on London Theatre.

Mamma Mia! The Party

Step into an immersive ABBA-themed world at Mamma Mia! The Party and imagine you're in the Mamma Mia! films. The Mamma Mia! The Party experience is set in a Greek taverna. During the evening, you'll meet restaurant owners Nikos and Kate as they share their family lives through ABBA songs. Be a "super trouper" or rediscover your inner "dancing queen" at this show. We guarantee you'll be up on your feet dancing! Mamma Mia! The Party is at the O2.

Book Mamma Mia! The Party tickets on London Theatre.

Secret Cinema Presents Dirty Dancing

There's Dirty Dancing on stage. There's Dirty Dancing in concert. And if you can't get enough of the iconic movie, head to Secret Cinema Presents Dirty Dancing. In this immersive experience, you'll be able to step into Kellerman's Resort and dance the night away with Johnny and Baby. The Secret Cinema Presents Dirty Dancing location will be revealed close to your performance date. Get your Dirty Dancing costumes ready and have the time of your life!

Book Secret Cinema Presents Dirty Dancing tickets on London Theatre.

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, quickly became a seminal example of 1920's American Jazz Age culture. Lavish parties, ladies wearing flapper dresses covered in jewels, constant overflowing champagne glasses, as well as The Great Gatsby film have ensured The Great Gatsby remains as popular as ever. Now, London theatregoers can step into Jay Gatsby's dizzying, hedonistic world at The Great Gatsby — the West End's longest-running immersive show.

As soon as you walk inside Gatsby's Mansion (located just off Oxford Street), you'll be greeted by bartenders and ensemble members who'll show you to your seats. Then, you can order a themed cocktail or two while taking in your new surroundings — a 1920s Art Deco period haven. During the show, get up and dance the Charleston with Daisy Buchanan, or listen to soulful stirrings from Myrtle Wilson and Jordan Baker. Who knows, maybe you'll get the chance to speak to Jay Gatsby himself! The Great Gatsby on stage combines traditional storytelling from the original book, and incorporates 21st-century humour and music to make The Great Gatsby a must-visit theatre destination. Until next time, West Egg.

Book The Great Gatsby tickets on London Theatre.

Dr. Who Time Fracture

Exterminate! Exterminate!

Okay, you may not want to be defeated by Daleks, but you'll have to be aware of Daleks' dangers in Dr. Who Time Fracture. Officially licensed by BBC Studios, Dr. Who Time Fracture blends elements of beloved Doctor Who episodes with a brand new story to allow its visitors to become the Time Lord.

During the 2-hour-and-15-minute experience, theatregoers are welcomed into UNIT, a crack-team of investigators who have protected the earth for decades. As the newest recruits, theatregoers are instructed to close the gaps between space and time. There's no room for the multiverse here, but there is a chance to defeat Cybermen, Oods, and maybe even use the Sonic Screwdriver. Enter another dimension at Dr. Who Time Fracture, perfect for both Doctor Who buffs and those who want to experience something new.

Book Dr. Who Time Fracture tickets on London Theatre.

Magic Mike Live!

Let your inhibitions loose and go wild at Magic Mike Live!, the steamy, scintillating immersive dance experience based on the Magic Mike movies. During the show, you'll meet Mike, a seemingly innocent bartender who dreams of a new life. It's pretty clear that Mike is gifted in the dance department too — no spoilers here — so get ready to see it all. Wherever you choose to sit in the London Hippodrome casino venue, you'll definitely get an eyeful. Dancers perform all around the space, thrusting in the aisles, and even bringing up (lucky) participants to join in the fun on stage.

Magic Mike Live! has definitely transformed London's Hippodrome Casino into an unexpected dance paradise. Sadly, original Magic Mike star Channing Tatum doesn't make an appearance, but you won't be able to take your eyes off the athletic company in the hottest dance show in London. There's bottomless prosecco too, and we'll cheer to that!

Book Magic Mike Live! tickets on London Theatre.

Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience

Only 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers were recorded, however the 1970s British show's enduring popularity that's kept it as one of the most recognisable British comedies of all time. The farcical television show follows hotel owner Basil Fawlty try to keep everything afloat in his hotel, even when he's challenged by colleagues, guests, and his wife, Sybil. Visiting Fawlty Towers may not be high up on your holidaymaking list, but a trip to the Fawlty Towers restaurant is now in the cards in Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience.

During the show, audiences dine on a three-course menu of 1970s-inspired dishes (quiche lorraine and cheese and pineapple sticks, anyone?) with a side dish of improvisational theatre. Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience relies on oven-fresh British humour, and you'll be laughing throughout your meal.

Book Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience tickets on London Theatre.

Mulan Rouge

What do you get if you cross Disney's Mulan with Moulin Rouge!? Easy. The Mulan Rouge. Discover a world of self discovery in The Vaults at London's latest cabarets. There's glitz, glamour and go-go girls to get the night kicking into action. In this show, diamonds are a girl's best friend. But you'll also need to get down to business. What will you decide?

Book Mulan Rouge tickets on London Theatre.

Photo credit: Dr. Who Time Fracture, Magic Mike Live!, and The Great Gatsby

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