Review: Secret Cinema presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Going to the cinema throws you into an a whole new world. Through your seat you’re launched into a brand new world, following the lives of fantasy beings on their adventures to right their wrongs, defeat their enemies and generally make the world a better place. Now imagine if you could actually walk around those worlds and experience the locations the same as the characters do. That’s what Secret Cinema is all about, and this year, they’re throwing their audiences into the world of Star Wars.

Established in 2006, Secret Cinema have been turning films to experiences, taking the audience from the seats and into a whole new world. This year, they have taken on Star Wars. Now, the whole idea of Secret Cinema is that it’s just that – secret, so there will be plenty from the event, including the location, that I will be keeping to myself.

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When you first reach the location of Secret Cinema, it’s very clear that the actors taking part in the event are very excited to be a part of it. Don’t be afraid if they start shouting at you, they’re simply in character and all will become clear soon enough.

After signing an NDA agreement and putting your phone into a sealed bag, you’re allowed into the main room of the event. Set up as a Moroccan Souk with Jawas and Stormtroopers wandering around, you get a chance to experience Tattooine like a young Luke Skywalker – there’s even a replica of his house and landspeeder. There’s even a chance to barter with the Jawas and dancing with the rebels in the cantina.

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Don’t worry about eating before you get there, there’s plenty of Moroccan style food on offer – just don’t expect it to be cheap. You would have thought that with the entrance ticket costing £75 that they’d make everything inside the event more reasonably priced. While it is expensive, it is tasty and to be honest £2.50 for a bag of chips is quite reasonable in London!

For someone who has never experienced Secret Cinema before, the actual film performance was great fun. With actors reenacting scenes from the film as they appeared on screen really brought it to life and puts you smack bang in the middle of it all. The only downside of the film, for me, was the fact that all the seats are level. Being quite a small person, having someone tall in front of me meant that a third of the screen was obscured by someone’s big head. Understandably, having tiered seating would’ve cost quite a lot more, but might be something for the organisers to consider for next year.

Secret Cinema presents Star Wars is a once in a lifetime experience that any Star Wars fan will love. However, if you’re not a fan, I’d suggest saving yourself a small fortune and staying at home.

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