So we did Secret Cinema. We dressed up as Star Wars characters. We wandered around London. That’s my eldest son in the photo next to me. I do not have the words to describe how much of an amazing time we had that night and even if I did I wouldn’t tell you because that’s the whole point.
Tell no one!
With you RebelX!
Here’s a teaser trailer…
OK, still reading? Well, here’s a few spoiler-free highlights…
The entire site is huge, 18 acres. There are two main locations: here (spoiler) and here (spoiler). Each area is divided up into multiple rooms on different levels with cantinas, repair shops, living space, all populated with actors — though it was often difficult to tell the actors apart from fellow visitors. The attention to detail is incredible. Aurebesh everywhere! There were rooms and corridors decked out as shuttles and boarding areas which were used to transport us from one location to the next. It was a bumpy ride at times!
There was plenty of food and drink to buy. Credit card only. We grabbed some excellent chicken shawarmas and cans of drink at the first location. Stay hydrated. Running with the Rebel Alliance is thirsty work!
There was a band playing in a cantina. There were aliens, droids, Stormtroopers, Jawas and a whole host of characters straight from the movies. I used the Force on an Imperial officer to persuade him that he didn’t need to see any identity papers for my mercenary friend. We chatted to a certain Wookie in the local cantina, swapping gold nuggets for spice. The actors did an amazing job, especially this guy and his friend (spoiler) and this other guy (spoiler) and one of the female Imperial officers who reacted perfectly when my son gave her some in-character attitude.
I think we made a lot of people smile as we walked around London and took the Tube. Standing at the end of a Tube carriage on the Northern Line I started chatting through the window to a guy in the next carriage. He told me that his sister-in-law worked at Secret Cinema and we were going to have an amazing time. We shook hands through the window with both of us grinning like kids.
During our journey there and back we met three different hen parties. They thought we were great, especially when I fired up my lightsaber. After the event we met a slightly confused lady at one of Tube stations. She looked around at the dozens of other Star Wars characters and asked: “I see you here every week… Why?” I gave her a few hints without giving anything away. She thanked me with a still-confused look on her face.
The tickets might seem expensive compared with a normal cinema trip but that’s the whole point…there isn’t anything normal about this. It was an incredible immersive experience, something similar to a very well executed 3-hour LARP followed by a well-earned sit-down rest to watch a film. There were quest lines and NPCs. The scenery was amazing. The film itself seemed liked a fairly small part of the whole experience — the real-life scenes spinkled throughout the film, played out by actors, were well received by everyone.
Would I do it again? Of course!
So now I’m looking forward to next year. I have my fingers crossed for Lord of the Rings. That would be a blast! But it could be anything. If Secret Cinema lay on another family-friendly event then I’ll be heading along with both of my sons and my wife. See you there!
I’m going to leave you with these photos from outside the event. Cameras and phones were (quite correctly) banned inside.