“Immersive” theater is a global trend, definitely “pushing the boundaries” of the art form. The Recommendation was my first exposure, though I’ve read about performances in Melbourne. As such, I recommend it highly. Tickets aren’t cheap, due to limitations on audience size; we had hottix for a preview so the ouchy factor was less. In our circumstances a splurge is called for once in a while. We also saw it with a less than sold-out crowd; a full house might make the viewing experience less comfortable.
That said, the plot was fairly predictable once you got the initial gist; but it was an insightful inspection into societal inequalities—beginning with the titular letter of recommendation and proceeding from there. There were three male actors (one white; two black) essentially playing to type, but that is never necessarily a drawback in theater.
It was definitely a step above the dinner murder mystery genre; it’s harder for me to assess it as an art when all my reference points and criteria are essentially proscenium-based theatrics. Definitely the actors can get away with less under such close scrutiny; but proximity was no bar to these performances. “Immersive” staging limits blocking in its own way; it’s neither better nor worse than (say) theater in the round, with its own idiosyncrasies.
More so than typical proscenium-based narratives these dramatics are ephemeral and very true to form; but the themes are presented in such a way that you probably won’t forget what you saw.