I’ve just booked tickets for this year’s Secret Cinema which will be Moulin Rouge themed and it reminded me of just how brilliant last year’s event was!
For those of you that don’t know, in London, there is a company that once or twice a year arranges an immersive cinema experience. Last year, I went to see Dirty Dancing (and I’m not ashamed to say that it’s one of my all time favourite movies alongside The Notebook and Lord of the Rings). They’ve done a Star Wars night that took place in a spaceship and a 28 Days later night where viewers had to lie in hospital beds before being chased by zombies, but thankfully my event was much more relaxed. A few weeks after signing up, everyone is emailed their character and given an indication of the type of outfit you should wear, I opted for a 1920’s skirt, a black bardot top and I bunched my natural curls into a top knot.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect as you can’t really find out much about it online. As soon as you arrive at the secret location (which is only revealed to you a couple of days before your booked date) they hand you a sealable plastic bag for your phone, and if you’re caught using it, you’re escorted off the premises!
Unlike the other events, this one took place outside in a giant field, and after traipsing through a meandering path in the woods with 5,000 other people we finally arrived at the Kellerman Resort and were greeted by Mr Kellerman himself. (If you’ve not seen the movie, it’s where the film is set!)
I was completely blown away by the lengths they had gone to recreate the film. The first half of the field was covered in food stalls that sold everything from candy floss, to fruit cider to halloumi chips. At the back of the field was a giant screen where the movie would later be shown and eager viewers had already reserved their spots with picnic blankets and pillows (which are essential for a warm and cosy night). Either side of the giant screen held bars where actors were teaching you how to dance to the songs in the movie, a pitch and putt, an archery class, and there was even an exclusive dance lesson from Johnny himself! (Patrick Swayze aka the main character aka the guy all the girls lust after).
My favourite part was the staff quarters, where Baby famously ‘carried a watermelon.’ Inside a smoke filled bar, viewers can crowd around a group of actors that recreate the iconic dance routine to ‘Do You Love Me.’ If you’re one of the lucky ones at the front, the actors will even pull you into the main circle and throw you round as though you are weightless.
After everyone has settled in their spots on their picnic blankets, the movie begins and is a combination of pantomime sound effects from the audience aswell as a live play of the movie by the actors you had met during the day, re-enacting the movie directly infront of it. It sounds bizarre, but it was absolutely brilliant. When a dance scene came on screen, everybody stood up and danced, singing along to the music, when Robbie (the baddie) tricked Baby’s sister, everybody booed – it felt as though we were all watching it as one.
If you want to see the official video for quite possibly the best cinema experience I have ever had, check it out: https://www.secretcinema.org/worlds/2016/11/28/secret-cinema-presents-dirty-dancing
If you are interested in attending this year’s Moulin Rouge event, tickets can be found here: https://www.secretcinema.org/tickets/