Secret location in London | ★★★★☆
Secret Cinema returns with its most ambitious project yet, and it’s out of this world. Reviewing Secret Cinema without giving away its… well, secrets, is tricky. Suffice to say you will explore a number of instantly recognisable locales from the Star Wars universe, each rendered in painstaking detail, before watching the film itself.
The scale of the production is vast – huge hangars are filled with props and an army of extras who live out both scripted and impromptu routines throughout the night. The quality of acting is first rate, with both fan-favourite and dreamed-up characters bringing the space to life. As ever, audience participation is required to get the most out of the experience; the more you interact, the more you become a part of the show.
Your progress through the night’s events is a little more episodic than previous Secret Cinema experiences, which works brilliantly from a narrative point of view but does slightly erode the sense of freedom. I ended up spending rather more time than I’d have liked in the first “world”, which is dominated by food stalls and an admittedly very cool bar.
The “main event” is an incredible visual spectacle that had me grinning in awe – again the scale and technical ingenuity is unlike anything Secret Cinema has produced before. The acting sequences that accompany the movie are also brilliantly executed. And after the credits roll, the bars re-open and the venue becomes a vast nightclub peopled by thousands of Star Wars characters: if that’s not enough to convince you, I don’t know what is.
Secret Cinema Presents Star Wars: The Emperor Strikes Back runs now until 27 September; secretcinema.org/tickets