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Secret Cinema: Tell No One

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

This is perhaps one of the strangest reviews I have ever had to write, as due to the concept of a Secret Cinema: Tell No One event, I am forbidden to spoil the name of the film to which the whole evening revolves around. And rightfully so. But here goes nothing...

Last night was just my third visit to a Secret Cinema production and the first time I have attended without actually knowing the title of the film. I had previously visited its productions of "Ghostbusters" and "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," which were both announced beforehand, with only the locations being kept secret. There is something uniquely refreshing about heading out on an evening and not be entirely sure what you are going to get. You can have a few educated guesses, I suppose, after you receive your character profile, costume and props checklist, but this reviewer, for one, was none the wiser. But I threw myself into my role and tried my best to stay in character for the duration of the evening. I was no longer Tom Millward of the London Theatre Guide, but Percy Naquin, Technical Sergeant in the Data Operations Department of the U.S. Air Force. Well, tickle me pink!

So, without giving too much away (and this will therefore be a fairly short review), the action takes place in a certain U.S. Air Force base, where patrons are split up depending on their assigned characters. Again, first impressions of the Secret Cinema production values are yet again impressive. You feel completely immersed in a different world, which scenic designers have pain-stakingly kitted out to enhance your experience. Your evening will also be completely different from other patrons, who have been assigned other characters. Whether you are an airman, a technical sergeant, a member of the press or even a diplomat for the night, you are sure to be kept on your toes with your individual tasks, as well as the more obvious and larger played out scenes which all patrons then witness together.

The screening itself takes place in the infamous "War Room" at the Pentagon, cleverly designed with a stage in the middle and screens surrounding you on the walls. Actors emerge from seats around you and around the stage, playing out the scenes from the movie live, whilst lip-synching to their corresponding screen characters, until at the end of the evening there is nothing left to do but watch the end credits roll and get ready to party...

I would like to applaud Secret Cinema on this occasion particularly for the employment of much older actors than those I have witnessed previously. Their performances added a certain gravitas and credibility to the evening. Furthermore I was impressed with the increased amount of pyrotechnics used within this production, despite the fact that I personally jump a mile every time an explosion goes off. Everytime I admire the ways in which the company brings iconic films to life in a 360 degree experience. I can only imagine the amount of carefully timed choreography that goes into the preparation of these events, making sure as many patrons as possible can get in on the action throughout the evening. My only qualm this time was that perhaps I would have relished a little more comedy or comic elements in the theatrical proceedings before the screening to match the partially comic tone of the film itself. But otherwise, it was yet another triumph and I'm sure the company's growing fan base will not be disappointed.

I look forward to the continued growth and dominance of Secret Cinema in the months and years ahead and remember, if you do venture out to its secret London location and the title of the film is revealed... Tell no one!


Originally published on

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