Secret Cinema: Back to the Future
Last night Secret Cinema finally opened its doors after last week’s high-profile cancellations. After a week of dealing with a storm of social media backlash, the organisers were certainly under pressure to prove to fans that the show was worth the wait.
The excitement began to build as soon as the train neared Hackney Wick. Regular commuters must have been surprised by the amount of men in britches and women sporting polka dot dresses matched with evening gloves. The sense of fervour in the air is palpable, contrasting starkly with the bitter mood of fans whom last week were informed last minute of the show’s cancellation.
Secret Cinema’s founder Fabien Riggall stated that there was a “myriad of reasons” for the cancellations, which sparked anger from fans who had travelled from far flung corners of the globe to see this spectacle.
With all this negativity in mind, the show was going to have to deliver great things if it was going to claw back some dignity. Fortunately, the jaw dropping recreation of Hill Valley and an 80-strong cast of actors meant that this immersive event was truly worth the wait.
Entering the set through the Peabody Farm and into Riverside Drive you get the feeling that every little detail has been thought out. From the sheep and chicken that mill about the farm to the scrawled notes found in the books in Doc’s house, the effort that has gone into this is extraordinary.
Hill Valley Square is even more impressive, with vintage shops packed with retro delights and a hairdressers where customers can get a trim. The lines between fiction and reality become eerily blurred as actors come up to gossip with you about neighbours and even the staff working on the hot dog stand remain resolutely in character. But the night was not without glitches, namely the massive snaking queues for everything. It took over 40 minutes to get in, there was at least an hour wait for food and the ATM queue was another half an hour. Another irksome factor of the night was the inflated prices of any type of activity or food. At £55 a ticket, you don’t expect to pay through nose to create your own poster or buy a drink.
Nonetheless, when you’re done with queuing and you allow your inhibitions to lift, you’ll find that you lose yourself in the secret cinema experience. The event is immersive, but more than this, it’s user-generated. This fact is never clearer than during the parade, when a mixture of actors and audience dance around the square with equal vigour. Secret Cinema managed to restore their dignity by consigning to history a genuinely captivating event.
Photos: Al Overdrive
Secret Cinema’s Back to the Future is on at a secret location Hackney Wick, for more information or to book tickets visit here.