Category: Events

Secret Cinema

My guide to Secret Cinema

Secret Cinema Moulin Rouge? Errr yes please! As soon as I found out this was the next instalment of Secret Cinema I booked tickets for Charlie and I as Christmas presents. On Christmas Day I gave him a box which contained a suspended belt (hilarious to open in front of his family) and a pretty rubbish photoshop of our faces as Satine and Christian. It's one of our favourite films so we were super excited but didn't know what to expect.

Moulin Rouge

Everything to do with Secret Cinema had been thought out thoroughly, from the detail on the various websites, the back stories to our characters and even their social media presence. So what do you need to expect and prepare for a secret cinema event? Well, I'm not going to spoil the surprise by going into too much detail (that's the whole point isn't it? the secret) but these are some general tips for preparing for an immersive event.

Stick to the rules

Part of the appeal of Secret Cinema is that it's secret. Don't go and blab about it afterwards on social media as you'll ruin it for everyone. If you had a great time then post a pic of your outfit and say that you had an amazing time.

Immerse yourself in the experience

Embrace the immersive aspect of Secret Cinema and get fully consumed by your role. If you are supposed to be a confident character then play that, if you're supposed to be pretty shady then play that too. If you're asked any questions whilst inside then make sure you reply in character. Trust me, you'll enjoy it a whole lot more.

Plan your outfit

A month before our booking we were emailed a secret code and assigned our characters, I immediately jumped onto my laptop to plan my outfit. I spent a day at my nan's house with her and her sewing machine creating my skirt. It was a lot more fun than buying one off the shelf and I got to make it look exactly how I wanted. I forgot to plan my hair and makeup until the day though which meant I spent the entire afternoon playing around with it. Make sure you think about your whole look as hair and makeup makes a biiiiiig difference to any outfit.

Plan your travel

When you get the top secret location make sure you plan your route! Especially if you're wearing slightly strange clothes. I had two options to get there and although walking to the overground was a few mins quicker, I didn't fancy walking down the street alone wearing a corset and can can skirt, so I got the tube instead.

Be prepared to feel a bit silly

From the second you walk out the house. I talking about the fact that I had to get the tube, alone, in rush hour. One woman couldn't stop staring at me and shooting me the evil look before she moved to the other side of the tube.

Enjoy it

I paid attention to eeeeeverything that happened to make sure I could remember it all. As soon as we got inside we walked around everything and took it all in. I wanted to make sure I'd seen everything and explored it all before I let go and enjoyed the night. Those memories will stay with me forever. Everyone was so happy and friendly!

That's everything I can say on Secret Cinema but trust me, it's amazing. If you get a chance to get tickets then do so! It's well worth it.

Secret Cinema

The Girls

A trip to the West End to see The Girls

I try to live by the idea that I will say yes to things more than no and that I’ll try anything once. This thinking is how I ended up at the theatre this week about to see The Girls, a musical I knew next to nothing about except that it’s based on the real life story of Calendar Girls, a film I am still yet to see, and it’s a ‘musical comedy’ written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth. On paper it sounds a bit too girly for me but in reality I really enjoyed the show.

Turning up I felt a little out of place. Everyone seems to be on the other side of thirty onwards and I started to wonder if I should have brought my mum along instead of my mate! As the first act begun those thoughts evaporated and I found myself tapping my feet to the music, giggling at the jokes and having a really lovely time. It was a very girly show but it was light hearted and a feel good musical that can easily be enjoyed by anyone, especially the gentleman behind me who was in hysterics throughout the performance.

I haven't been to a musical in ages but I forgot how much I enjoy them. The music didn't disappoint either, there was a mixture of sad, funny and uplifting songs which got the balance just right. Also, I love it when an actress stands in the middle of the stage alone belting out lyrics. Power ballad anyone?

The standing ovation at the end was very well deserved. The cast were so happy to be performing and you could tell that they enjoyed every single minute of it, they were all in such high spirits. If you’d like to see The Girls for yourself then it is on at the Phoenix Theatre until 22nd April and you can book tickets from the Box Office.

The Girls

A Tuesday night theatre trip to Dead Funny

I can't remember the last time I went to a West End show. Booking tickets to something that's on for months always drops down my priorities list. When Erica asked if I wanted to come along to see Dead Funny with her I couldn't turn it down. And go for dinner first? Even better!!

All Bar One

We both met at All Bar One which had just been refurbished. It looked pretty swanky in there with funky looking lamps hanging over the tables, not to mention possibly the best neon sign in existence! All Bar One

It also wasn't a tourist trap either, despite being located in Leicester Square. Fitting in a decent meal before the theatre can sometimes feel quite rushed but this didn't at all. The waiter, Juan, kept checking in on us to see if we needed anything and made sure our food came out quickly. We started with a sharing platter which had calamari (yum), chicken skewers, haloumi and chorizo skewers, home made tortillas (with just the right amount of tang) and hummus and pitta. We devoured it over a bottle of wine before tucking into steak with parmesan chips. Oh, and sweet potatoes fries because, well, you can never not order them when they're on a menu. I'd never had parmesan fries before but there were really good although quite cheesy for a whole portion.

All Bar One

Bellies full we realised we had fifteen minutes until the show started so we scooted along to the Vaudeville theatre ready for Dead Funny to start. The play was written by Terry Johnson and was first performed in 1994. It's set in 1992, the year Benny Hill died, followed by Frankie Howerd a few days later. The characters are part of comedy appreciation society, the Dead Funny Society, which comes together to mourn the passing of the comedians. Throughout the storyline we learn more about how Eleanor wants a child but is frustrated when her husband has no interest in touching her, the not so perfect marriage of Nick and Lisa and the overly mothered Brian, who just wants everyone to be happy.

Dead Funny

The performance was strong; the show does what the name suggestions - it was dead funny. My favourite character was easily Eleanor, played by Katherine Parkinson, who came out with some of the funniest remarks about her husband and the rest of the cast. It's also the first performance I've seen with full on nudity and boy, I was not ready for that. Cue some very immature giggles!

A Tuesday night of culture was pretty good! You can catch Dead Funny on at the Vaudeville theatre until 4th February 2017. Thanks for the invite London Theatre Bloggers and Stagedoor (a handy little app for finding new shows to see).

Katherine Parkinson as Eleanor, Steve Pemberton as Brian, Emily Berrington as Lisa, Rufus Jones as Richard; Ralf Little as Nick
Image ©Alastair Muir 01.11.16

 **I was a guest of both All Bar One and Dead Funny but as always, my reviews wouldn't be here if I didn't love it.

HUNTED

HUNTED

On Friday night I went along to another immersive theatre experience with CoLab. This one was called HUNTED and I had no idea what to expect. The only instructions we were given was to turn up at Waterloo station at a certain time with a fully charged phone, 8mb of data and headphones; at 7.30pm exactly we had to text a number. The number then sent us a link to a file which would get us to safety. Security protocol 74 had been initiated.

What happened next? Well I don't want to ruin it. Let's just say that we were hunted through the streets of London. There was running involved and a few small spaces to climb through. We suspected everyone. Anyone could be watching us and we had to get away. Fast. We had to survive. Our lives hung on the decisions we made and how fast we acted.

We had taken a few friends along who had never seen immersive theatre before and they really enjoyed it. One wasn't sure he wanted to take it seriously to begin with but I pointed out that the more you take it seriously, the more you enjoy then experience. You need to believe that you really are being hunted by baddies rather than actors and you need to throw yourself into the scene and enjoy it.

Want to try it out for yourself? HUNTED is on every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until the end of November and tickets cost just £11 each - bargain! HUNTED