Secret Cinema is back with another clandestine immersive cinematic experience. But this time there’s a twist – the film has already been announced. For their latest production, it’s no secret that they’re screening ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and transporting people into the wonderfully twee world of Wes Anderson.
However, with tickets selling for around £50, it’s quite an investment for a night out. We reckon that you’ll enjoy it more if you’ve never been to Secret Cinema before. No doubt about it, as with all SC productions, the world they create around the film they’re screening is pretty novel. And if you’re a relative newbie to immersive experiences, chances are you’ll be bowled over. But compared to their previous productions, this definitely lacks the wow factor. We can’t work out whether it’s down to fewer actors, or whether it’s because the actors they do hire are hotel staff, whose role is to loiter silently in the background. Either way, it’s unlikely to delight die-hard SC fans.
However, don’t let that put you off. We went to the first night last night, had a fun time and this is what we learnt…
Although you know what the film is, chances are you won’t have seen it so it’ll still be as much of a surprise as usual. Watching the trailer just before you go will remind you of the key motifs and help you to identify clues as you explore.
When you book, you’ll be sent strict instructions for what to wear. The whole experience is much more fun if everyone is dressed up to the nines and ‘in character’. You’ll feel out of place if you just rock up in jeans and trainers.
You’ll also be asked to bring a selection of things. You don’t need to go OTT sourcing everything on the list but do try and make an effort as some of the items will come in handy later. There is a cloakroom but don’t bring anything too heavy as you may end up carrying it around all night. Oh and don’t worry too much if you can’t print out your papers, you’ll be fine without them.
Wear warm clothes
Whatever you wear, make sure it’s warm. You’ll be inside for the whole evening but it’s not too toasty in there so do layer up as you might get chilly while watching the film.
If watching the film is all you’re after, just go see it at the cinema. It’ll be much cheaper. If you want the full SC experience, you need to go ready for adventure. Go to every floor, open every door, follow every actor and you’ll get way more for your money.
When someone talks to you, go with it. Assume a flamboyant character, play along and you’ll have so much more fun. Oh and be nice to the lawyer and you may be handsomely rewarded.
Meet friends before
Before entering the hotel, you have to leave your phone at reception. Yes, that’s right – no selfies, tweets or Instagramming and no way to contact your mates once you’re inside, so head in together. Oh and there’s also no way to tell the time if you normally rely on your phone (like we do) so wear a watch!
You can’t stay over
Given the eye-watering ticket prices, some punters may be under the impression that they get to stay in a hotel. That, sadly, isn’t the case. You do get a beautiful recreation of the hotel, but you’ll be going home at the end of the night. Well, unless you lock yourself in a cupboard all night. Which we probably wouldn’t advise.
Unlike other SC productions, you won’t have to swap your cash for tokens to buy stuff, but your cards are no good here so bring plenty of money if you want to eat and drink the night away.
Find a good spot
As you explore the site, scope out the potential cinemas. Around 8pm (if you’re wearing a watch), start to head to your preferred spot. The whole thing is about more than just the film but you’ll want to get a good seat. We watched it on the top floor which was comfortable, but a long way down for snacks and toilet breaks.
Find out more and buy tickets for Secret Cinema’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.