Hot Tub Cinema returns to Shoreditch
As the weather warms, Pillow Cinema packs up its beanbags and makes way for Hot Tub Cinema. The former Shoreditch Underground Station on Brick Lane is transformed to accommodate many inflatable hot tubs squashed side-by-side, rendering the space blurry with rising steam. Hipsters and bath lovers come together to watch cult and classic movies in this unique environment. This season has included screenings of Pretty Woman, The Lion King and Top Gun, and Labyrinth, which played on a Wednesday night.
Not here the reverent hush of the seated cinema. Attention is split between group conversations, the volleying back and forth of several beach balls and, of course, David Bowie’s bulging leggings. Onscreen subtitles do away with the need for quiet.
While the film may not be the sole focus of the event, the happily marinating audience is on-the-ball enough to cheer at all the right places: when Bowie makes his first entrance, when Sarah utters the words to make her baby brother disappear and when Bowie’s Goblin King is finally defeated.
Waiters are on hand to take drink orders, meaning that nobody ever has to leave the comfort of the tub. Plastic drinks tokens can be purchased at the entrance to avoid getting paper cash wet. Don’t have a waterproof camera to hand? A professional photographer does the rounds, snapping happy memories for everybody and loading them onto Facebook the next day. They’ve thought of everything.
Posers need not apply; this is a night for fancy dress and silliness. Don’t bother with makeup as even the waterproof stuff will be steamed off and form panda circles within the hour.
Other than the trusty trunks/bikini, audience members need a towel, flip flops and some wacky accessories (optional). Think arm bands and snorkel masks. There are souvenir dressing gowns emblazoned with the Hot Tub Cinema logo on offer. These will set you back £30. Cocktails can be purchased for £7, Prosecco, beer or double spirits are £6.
With so much going on, don’t expect to absorb every bit of the film, and rather enjoy the novelty of the evening and the water’s relaxing heat. You’ll leave a little lightheaded, prune-skinned and sparkly clean.
Hot Tub Cinema runs in London, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester. New screenings are added regularly, for further information or to book visit here.