Foxtrotting the night away with The Immersive Great Gatsby!

Foxtrotting the night away with The Immersive Great Gatsby!

Great Gatsby is one of the best-known novels since the dawn of time. However I’ve always had a little bit of a love-hate relationship with it. I studied the F. Scott Fitzgerald story as a part of my English A level but never really got very into it and often pretended to have read it when in fact I’d just googled what happens in each chapter as we went along. So, when Lovepopupslondon invited us along to The Great Gatsby immersive theatre experience by Immersive Ensemble.  I sort of thought that it’d be history repeating itself and that I wouldn’t really care for what was going on too much. However, this experience completely changed my mind on the story and I finally think I fully understand it?! 

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I had no idea what to expect from this event as I purposely tried not to google it (apart from the address) so that It’d be more exciting. I also wasn’t sure how far people were going to go with the 1920s theme and whether I needed to go out and buy a flapper dress and some pearls. In the end I just opted for a white suit, I could always say I was pretending to be a man. Looking back, I do wish I had made slightly more effort in my attire as so many others did and it would mean I could fully immerse myself into the entire evening and feel as though I was really at one of Gatsby’s huge parties. 
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I wasn’t able to take any photos during the performance, which I think is quite a good thing as it means the surprise of what is to come from the evening will not be ruined, but also because each person’s experience will have been different. 
We arrived to the location, Gatsby’s Drugstore on Long Lane, near London Bridge, and after a quick briefing we headed into the holding area where there was a bar and people were hanging out, waiting for the action to begin. This all started by a man shouting and talking very loudly as he swanned through the crowd and up to a little platform. We soon found out that this was one of the characters, Nick Carraway, also known as the novel’s narrator. And he set the scene perfectly before opening the huge double doors onto the next (huge) room where we’d be spending the majority of the evening.
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We all rushed in to the second room where there was a large empty area which was surrounded by tables and chairs and a higher level with a balcony so that you could look down upon the dance floor. This was the backdrop for the infamous gatsby party. We found a seat and sat down before some of the actors and actresses came over and asked us about ourselves (they seemed to remember everyone’s name, I don’t even understand how), there was a quick dance – 1920s style. And some of the actors gave a little masterclass so that everyone could join in.
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We were then all split into smaller groups and whisked away to a secret rooms through various tunnels where we all had a different experience and learnt different things about the characters. Ours included Myrtle, Tom and Nick. Here they gave a little insight and background of the whole night and even let us in on some secrets before we returned to the main room to meet Mr Gatsby Himself. 
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This sort of thing continued for the entirety of the performance. There were moments when all of the audience were together watching parts of the story, but also moments that we were split up and listening to different sides and interacting with different cast members, this meant that each persons experience was completely different to one another, and this was mainly down to the personal touch of each of the actresses and actors, making you feel as though you were really involved in all of the different secrets but also it didn’t feel as though you missed anything if you weren’t asked to follow someone to a secret room. It was all very cleverly done.
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Throughout the evening we were introduced to all of the characters from the story and their backgrounds, including all of the secrets that they came with. It was a really special evening which was made even more interesting by the cast’s singing and dancing and acting skills. Their ability to include every single person in the room but not to cause embarrassment or to distract from the main event was incredible and they managed to hold my attention for the entire evening. A lot longer than it was held whilst I studied it at school. 
The whole performance lasted for about just over 2 hours or so with a short interval in the middle where you could pick up another delicious cocktail. It never felt as though parts were dragging (which I quite often feel with performances) and it was great that you got to follow the entire evenings’ events as they unfolded as if you were there. It was an extremely clever and thought through scheme which must have taken quite some time to perfect. All of the cast and staff were amazing and stayed in character throughout whilst both delivering the story perfectly and keeping you in the loop and immersed in the entire production. 
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I’d definitely recommend The Great Gatsby Immersive Theatre to anyone had wanted to do something a little different, whether they’re a huge fan of The Great Gatsby or have never even heard of/managed to finish the book. You’ll be entertained non-stop and even learn to love (or hate) the characters as you go. You can’t go unless you’re over 14 years old but it’d be an amazing event to attend as a family, just remember to keep your eyes peeled and to wear flat shoes! It also might be worth having a dance practice if you have two left feet like I do! 
You can find out more via their website or on their Instagram, facebook or Twitter! 

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