• By Secret Cinema
  • Until 25th May 2014
  • Varying arrival times (starting at 17:15); Running time: approx. 5 hrs
  • Review by Becca Kaplan
  • 13 April 2014
Secret Cinema 21
4.0Reviewer's Rating

Secret Cinema, once again, has proven that you can live in the movies if you want to.

Now, as due to the whole ‘secret’ aspect I cannot address too much what of occurs during the evening, I will instead compare it to past experiences with the company.

The night begins with your arrival at a secret location given to you only a few nights prior with dress code suggestions.

Dressed to the nines 1920s style and surrounded by similarly dressed guests, the experience has begun. What I really appreciated about this production, especially in comparison to some of my past experiences, was the feeling of complete immersion. The waiting area already took on the appearance of the evening and the entrance was smoothly run. Once inside, the pure effort and extent of transformation is evident. The place feels endless, but in a good way: There is always something more to explore, a new hallway to wander down, a new character to follow.

The actors are a good balance of showy and authentic, a couple of the big scenes had people gasping and screaming. The scenes play out throughout the night and even if you do not catch all of them, you have the sense of atmosphere. And anything truly major happening is announced (in character) for a long enough time that you can make your way to the crowd if you so choose.

This is true also for when the screening itself begins.  Ushered in, the action calms down a bit. Without giving anything away, I will say I am now a huge fan of the chosen film and had fun figuring out where what I had seen previously during the evening fit into the film. Some of the company’s performances continue throughout the film. Certain effects and lighting really help with the mood, but as it was very dimly lit with little stage lights, I wonder how visible the actors were to people who were not seated up front. However, the main event at this point is the film, so you do not miss out on much if you can’t catch them.

As a person who had no idea what film was going to screen up until the lights dimmed and the credits rolled, I found this mystery to be an added bonus. I was not searching out for elements I recognized or comparing the characters, I simply enjoyed the night. And it is easy to do so in this expansive world. You have two main ways you can experience a Secret Cinema event: either go full force, tracking characters down, interacting with the performers and playing the game or having a leisurely time drinking and partying with your friends and enjoying whatever little piece of theatre you happen to stumble across. Both lead to a great evening, but I would recommend trying out a little interaction. Go find the purpose for your little trinket and play a game or two. It’s time to be transported back to the age where alcohol and gambling were illegal and that just made it all the more fun.

About The Author

Profile photo of Becca Kaplan
Facilitator & Reviewer (Germany)

Becca Kaplan is a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her MA in Film Studies from King's College London. She began reviewing with Plays To See in the fall of 2013 when she moved to London to earn her Masters. Currently, Becca lives in Germany, exploring another international side of theater criticism.

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