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Review by Tom Millward
18 April 2016
Secret Cinema is back and this time… infectious! Last night, I was fortunate enough to become a victim, as Danny Boyle’s 2002 thriller 28 Days Later gets the Secret Cinema treatment at a secret location in London, which has now been turned into St. Thomas’ Hospital for the occasion.
Anyone who knows this British cult horror movie can probably well imagine the type of evening that awaits… Blood, violence, and a lot of running through darkened, post-apocalyptic-themed corridors, that’s what! This is a rage-infused, adrenaline rush for all those cinema and immersive theatre fans out there, not to be missed!
Patrons are invited to attend a vaccination treatment following the outbreak of the now infamous ‘rage’ virus. They are encouraged to turn up in their medical scrubs with protective face masks. One of the initial joys of Secret Cinema is always getting off at the nearest tube station and clearly spotting your fellow revelers in fancy dress for the night. You have an instant, unspoken bond with strangers – something you perhaps don’t share at a standard visit to a West End theatre.
As always, I don’t want to go into too much detail about the theatrical show that leads up to the screening of the film. However, depending on your arrival time, you will be immersed in this ravaged London setting for two to three hours and just one warning from me: be prepared to run… a lot! There is also a surprise treat for patrons when you get to the final "quarantine" stage of the experience, but I'll let that remain a secret too. Needless to say, this critic was exhausted by the end of it!
Look out for the actors and scenes that mirror those you’ll encounter in the film at the end of the night and feel free to get into character yourself and interact with the actors. The more you invest, the more you’ll get out of your Secret Cinema experience. The more you suspend your disbelief and imagine yourself in a world riddled by an epidemic, the higher the intensity of the fear factor for your evening.
There is clever usage of archive footage of actual strikes and riots on the video screens to heighten the sense of chaos and timely nods to the NHS’ Junior Doctors’ strike even make the cut. So much hard work and imagination has gone into creating this setting and choreographing the patron’s journey through it. Bravo! The movie itself is projected on 12 large screens and there is another surprise awaiting you in terms of how you actually watch it. Intermittently the infected actors run maniacally through the space, chasing the lead principals. Military personnel march through with their torches and guns and strobe lighting is used for added effect.
I treated myself to a “Quarantine” cocktail during the event’s proceedings. With my nervous disposition, I should probably have had a couple of stiff gins to go with it though.
Congratulations to Secret Cinema on yet another fantastically engineered immersive production of film and theatre, this time taking on the Horror/Thriller genre in heart-racing, blood-pumping fashion and delivering a production that is highly enjoyable and yes, out-RAGE-ous!
Click HERE to buy tickets to Secret Cinema: 28 Days Later, which continues running through to 29 May 2016.