Secret Cinema Presents Grease
An immersive experience bringing one’s favourite film to life is any cinephile’s dream come true. This is what Secret Cinema is known and loved for – film screenings where the fictional world of the movie expands beyond the boundaries of the screen, allowing audiences to walk through its scenes and breathe in its atmosphere.
A large outdoor space at Birmingham’s NEC has now been fully transformed into Rydell High, the school where Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson, alongside the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies, get together and have an unforgettable time. No fan of the film Grease should miss this opportunity to mingle with the characters and be part of the action.
Attendees can join choir practice, participate in the cheerleading or the hand jiving contest, or take part in various other activities on the Sports Field. One can also visit the Auto Shop where the T-Birds are busy fixing their car (and may even ask you for advice on what colour they should paint it), and a fabulous ball is held in the school’s gym where Vince Fontaine is crooning away and Cha-Cha DiGregorio is showing her best moves.
There’s no end to the entertainment available: a replica of the funfair held in the final scene gives fans the opportunity to enjoy a ride on the Ferris wheel or on a swing carousel, or alternatively hit a teacher with a pie! Pertinent food options abound, including hot dogs, burgers, pizzas and milkshakes, in addition to a number of bars where even the bartenders are in character. Since the vast majority of the attending crowd are dressed in 1950s attire, the atmosphere is all the more fun and it’s so easy to get lost in the magic of it all.
While it’s enjoyable enough to just wander around this playground for grownups, the main event is of course the screening itself. As everyone settles down with blankets, popcorn and a drink, a large screen plays the movie in vivid, crisp clear quality and excellent sound. Practically everyone in the audience has seen Grease before, but the build-up created by the pre-show activities heightens the enjoyment of rewatching it and, since the occasion allows it, many take the opportunity to belt out every song of the soundtrack. The audience further discovers that there is also one more feature to the screening that enhances its three-dimensional take…
As with most immersive shows, it can feel like one is missing out on something that may be unfolding simultaneously elsewhere, but the fact that each ticket-holder has a completely unique experience actually makes it extra special. One potential setback to factor in is the weather, but a combination of luck and being prepared for all eventualities can save the day.
With prices starting at £39, this may seem like a glorified expensive screening, but seeing the world of Grease recreated with so much accuracy, the characters played with such skill, and the whole event providing so much scope for fun, makes this more than a fair deal. There’s no better way to experience a film.
Image: Jim Jacobs/WarrenCasey/Paramount Pictures
Secret Cinema Presents Grease is at NEC Birmingham from 26th July until 13th August 2023. For further information or to book visit the website here.