On account of this ‘ere blog, I do get the chance to attend some really wonderful things. Last week, I went along to one of the last showings of Future Cinema’s Shawshank Redemption. It began as a Secret Cinema production before Christmas. For those who don’t know, Secret Cinema is exactly as it sounds, you sign up to watch a film, but you have no idea what it actually is. What you do know is that it will be an unforgettable experience, taking place in a venue made up to look like a set from the film, with all sorts of clues, communications and even tasks beforehand. I went to the showing they did of Prometheus – the first time they’ve ever done a new film, and it was in an abandoned warehouse filled with real props from the movie, brilliant actors and was an amazing night unlike anything I’d seen before. Even though I was terribly late. And a bit hungover. Ahem. I’ve been to a Future Cinema production before, too – when they did Bugsy Malone at the Troxy. This was a bit different.
I knew that I was going to see Shawshank Redemption, but it didn’t make it any more intriguing. The Secret Cinema team had taken over two historic buildings in East London – the Bethnal Green Library and an old school/former hospital in Victoria Park. The library was the court room where we all lined up, clad in smart officewear as instructed, to await our sentencing for an assortment of crimes.
I felt genuine nerves! At this point I should point out that photography is not usually allowed at Future Cinema, and especially not at Secret Cinema. No point in ruining the fun for everyone! But a group of us were given special dispensation as prolific Instagrammers to document our experiences…
I went down for indecent exposure and was given the nickname ‘Dick’, because, in all honesty, I was being one. He was being mean! I was in character! All ladies are referred to by male names and as transvestites since, of course, the inmates of Shawshank are all men.
We then got told to line up against a wall and given a tongue-lashing by a guard, before being ushered into an amazing vintage bus (often used at Goodwood and Hemsby I believe), then transported to Oakhampton State Penitentiary.
Here’s Bethan and I on the bus.
Once there, we had to line up again in the gymnasium, before being told to strip to our regulation long johns and teeshirts (again, we were instructed to wear these under our clothes) and we were supplied with prison outfits. They were sexy.
You’re then left to explore the prison, with occasional lock-ins to dorms kitted out with bunk beds, taken to the cafeteria for victuals, drink beer from bottles in paper bags, get side missions to steal things from the warden’s office and, if you remember (we didn’t), go to the parole office to try and plead your rehabilitation. We witnessed a big punch up in the chapel and people being force-fed gin. We played the bad girls/boys with miniatures stuffed down our bras and trying to get in with the most notorious inmates. It was absolutely excellent.
The last thing, of course, was watching the film, which speaks for itself. What an amazing movie! I can’t believe I’d never seen it. I’m probably the only one!
I’m sure I’ve missed more that I did while there, and I definitely missed a lot of what was going on. I encourage you to go yourself and experience it in full. The last tickets for the extended run until 24th February are available to buy here. Go! It would be a brilliant Valentines date… or maybe not.
If this post gives a little insight into the unbelievable amounts of work and attention to detail that Future Cinema put into their productions, then my next task is to tell you about the next one which I am definitely, absolutely not going to miss out on… Casablanca!
They’re taking over the Troxy in Limehouse, a gorgeous art deco dance hall and cinema that’s been completely restored. The film, of course, is set in the Second World War in 1941, and the action takes place around Ricks Café Americain – a haven for refugees trying to purchase illicit papers and flee the fast approaching war. Then, on a dark night, a brief encounter occurs as Rick meets the girl of his dreams…
Benoit Villefon and his Orchestra (who are awesome) are playing, there will be a recreated Blue Parrot Cafe serving delicious food, there will be dancing, secret bars and bands and, of course, the film.
I have actually never seen Casablanca either, so a lot of this means very little to me, except that this vintage movie is obviously an absolute classic and I have no doubt at all that Future Cinema will more than do justice to it.
So do come along to Rick’s, it’s open from 14th February (so a better idea for a vintage Valentines date than being banged up, probably) to 3rd March at the Troxy. Tickets available here, now. Hope I’ll see you there!
PS. This post isn’t sponsored, I just hope they let me toddle along to Casablanca!