This writer has had the pleasure of a full range of theatrical immersion: from the mono-mania of You Me Bum Bum Train to the dizzying scale of Punchdrunk and the National Theatre's co-production, The Drowned Man. Secret Cinema prides itself on its anarchic wit, so it was with not a little excitement that I found myself queuing in the old streets of Clerkenwell dressed in my best suit, flapper-dressed girlfriend on arm for their screening of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Our line of 1920s throw-backs at 6pm on a Friday made quite an impression on those finishing the week's work. For the uninitiated, Secret Cinema offers the shiny wrapper for the chocolate of film. Once we had been admitted by actors dressed as the said film's bellhops, we stepped into a wonderful recreated hotel, where Hungarian aristocracy and officious Fascists bumped luggage and at times loins. Great detail abounded, from the furnishings to the Martinis (you do get stung a little here – be warned drinks and food aren't included) before we sat down in a makeshift screening room for a film as entertaining as the festivities preceding it.
Part of Secret Cinema's charm is the fact that it's hard to tell between the players and the guests throughout. A Wes Anderson film provides just the right palette for meta-theatrical fireworks and the set pieces in our mock-hotel, which at times included us, were wonderful. At one stage I had a note pressed into my hand by a bellhop which read – well I can't tell you what it read. I'm sworn to secrecy. That's the point.
For more information and extra dates in early April visit: http://www.secretcinema.org/grandbudapesthotel.html