We're only a couple of months into 2017 and Londoners (and those prepared to make the trip to the capital) are already being treated to a new Secret Cinema production. Whether you long for the old days of genuinely secret and intimate immersive theatre ...
We're only a couple of months into 2017 and Londoners (and those prepared to make the trip to the capital) are already being treated to a new Secret Cinema production. Whether you long for the old days of genuinely secret and intimate immersive theatre projects or you enjoy the sprawling epic stagings of recent times, it's hard to deny that Secret Cinema has become one of the most exciting and sought-after nights out in the city.Advertisement - Continue Reading BelowThis time around, it's Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! getting the Secret Cinema treatment. Held at a top-secret location in London, it's the latest in a long line of productions from Fabien Riggall's company, from the huge and well-received (Back to the Future, Empire Strikes Back) to the rare disappointment (28 Days Later).Even if you're not a fan of the 2001 period drama/camp musical starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, on paper it's definitely a film that fits the Secret Cinema bill. Its early-1900s Parisian setting means decadent locations, lavish costumes and lots and lots of songs that everyone knows.
Secret Cinema/Laura LittleThe problem facing any critic reviewing Secret Cinema is that there's not much you can actually reveal unless you want to spoil it. The guide we're given says: "Please don't reveal any details of the show… but describe the feeling of it all from your perspective and that of the wider audience." So, don't expect many precise details about the show itself.If you're an extrovert, you'll be in your element. If you're the opposite, interactive theatre is always a tad hard, especially if you're instructed to wear something that could include an over-the-top suit, suspenders, corsets and the like. But once you're there and out of the tube, it's a glorious, exciting experience.
20th Century FoxAs soon as you enter Montmartre's saucy cabaret abode, the recreation of 1900s Paris is rather surreal. Like any Secret Cinema show, it always feels weird to be on the train one minute and suddenly transported back in time the next. It doesn't take long to get sucked into the atmosphere and pretend to be the character you've been assigned in advance.Both before and during the film itself, there's plenty to see and do. Even after the show – especially on a Friday or Saturday – it carries on for hours. We doubt you'll be bored at any stage. There's also plenty to eat and drink, but sadly this does cost more than your average burger and beer, so maybe make sure you eat a grand meal beforehand.Our main issue with recent Secret Cinema events is that they've perhaps been too big. The Back to the Future and Empire Strikes Back shows, while amazing, were at times overwhelming. There was so much going on, you got FOMO. Here, they have created a way of making it a bit more obvious when something big is about to happen.
Secret Cinema/Laura LittleLike Secret Cinema's staging of Miller's Crossing back in 2014, Moulin Rouge! is smaller in scale, but still has many areas to explore. Not too small, not too grand, and very, very sexy.But is it worth your money? Yes, if this is your thing. And if you've clicked on this, it most likely is. It's not a cheap evening (see below) but remember, this isn't just an elaborate screening. It's a whole night out and unlike anything else you'll do for a long time.It definitely helps if you're a fan of Moulin Rouge! in the first place, though. Not only for spotting all the references before the film starts, but generally for the whole atmosphere. But, we reckon, even if your reaction to the film was "Meh", you'll still enjoy the good excuse to dress up and have a bit of a dance.
Secret Cinema/Laura LittleFor us, we not only had (a surprisingly shy) Baz Luhrmann turn up as a surprise guest before the film started to address the crowd and thank the organisers, but Groove Armada appeared as special DJs after the main event concluded. So, be prepared for a few cool surprises too, if you're lucky.While we're here, here are a few tips that'll help you if you're still not sure about getting a ticket:How expensive is it?Tickets start at £49 and go up to a whopping £150, so it ain't cheap. Plus, there's costume and travel costs, along with the price of drinks and food if you want any.There are different ticket tiers – Children of the Underground, Children of the Revolution or Aristocrats. These affect the type of character you're assigned, but otherwise don't make much of a difference. If you're one of the Children of the Underground you're not guaranteed a seat during the screening, so if that sounds horrible you might want to pay more (but it isn't as bad as it sounds, honest).It is totally worth the money though, if you make the most of it. It's more of an immersive theatre event that takes place all night rather than a simple screening. If you arrive as early as possible, try and do everything that's there, and join in the fun – you'll quickly forget about the cost of it all.Do I have to get into character?You really should, especially if you spent that much money. When you register, you get given a character and a guide to how to dress up as them – and pretty much everyone we saw really goes for it. Whenever we saw anyone wearing a T-shirt and jeans (only a couple here and there), they stood out in a bad way.But don't worry about sticking ruthlessly to the character guide, as it doesn't really matter. Just make sure you relatively look the part. There are also props and other things to bring with you, but these aren't essential, just another fun addition to make you feel more immersed once you're there.Can I bring my phone?Yes, but they'll make you put it in a sealed pouch all evening (but you'll get to keep them on your person). It's a strictly no-photo zone, which is a bit of a shame, but keeps the immersive feeling going as much as possible. It would look weird if everyone was taking selfies, and because of that it's refreshing and liberating.Elsewhere, there are at least card machines for food and drink, so don't worry about having to take cash. Also, there is a free cloak room so you can bring a jacket. Thankfully, most people leave at different times of the evening so there shouldn't be a mad rush to get them back unless you leave it right until the very end.When does it end?Wednesdays: 10.30pmThursdays and Sundays: 11pmFridays and Saturdays: VERY late, around 3am!Secret Cinema's Moulin Rouge! will run in a secret London location until April 30. Tickets can be found via https://www.secretcinema.org/.Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit 'Like' on our Digital Spy Facebook page and 'Follow' on our @digitalspy Twitter account and you're all set.
Baz Luhrmann,Ewan McGregor,Nicole Kidman