It’s lewd, loud and louche. Secret Cinema’s latest effort is maybe the most flamboyant yet.
An old warehouse in east London has been transformed into Paris’ murkiest neighbourhood Montmartre for a saucily immersive extravaganza of Baz Lurhmann’s Moulin Rouge! and goslings, it’s one hell of a night.
Prostitutes, Dukes, freaks and of course the infamous Diamond Dogs will be among your fellow guests and before the screening there’s a whole world to explore. For the more bashful of guests, the absinthe flows and you should be prepared to blush, sing, be tickled …and even licked.
Basically leave your manners at the door get ready to flash your knickers – and that goes for both girls and boys.
As club owner Harold Zidler says: “Spectacular, spectacular, no words in the vernacular” – and that sums it up really. In keeping with Secret Cinema’s strictly held premise of “don’t spoil the surprise” – we can’t give away too much.
However, here are a few tips and teasers to help you on your way.
One of the best parts of the experience is planning and putting on your costume. When you buy your tickets you’re issued with a ‘character’ which can range from Duchess to prostitute, from impoverished playwright to circus freak.
Guests take their dress up very seriously indeed at the Society of Love so be ready for drag, lots of cleavage and lots of make-up. Yahoo was tasked with becoming a teenage lady of the night called Daisy so super tight corsets, bloomers and ruffled skirts were called for.
Men are encouraged to cross-dress and be adventurous as possible so don’t feel that a top hat and tails are the only option. (Angel Fancy Dress at 119 Shaftesbury Avenue kindly kitted us out – or you can visit the slightly cheaper auchicparisien.org)
There’s a whole website dedicated to the grimy underworld of the Moulin Rouge (societyoflove.org) where you can research your character, talk to others and get costume inspiration.
You’re also instructed to bring certain props so you can easily identify others ‘of your kind’.
Be aware also there area few ticket tiers. The pricier option means you’re allowed into a VIP balcony area and your character will be of a higher class like a Duke or Duchess. Creatures of the underworld tickets are general seating and your character will be far seedier – and far more fun.
Dance, laugh and get involved as much as you can. Talk to and flirt with others and make friends. And of course make sure you grab a partner to sing the Elephant Love Medley with. We found a lonely bespectacled poet.
And if you really want to be an exhibitionist, hang around by Zidler’s stage door and see what happens…
The actors expect you to interact so don’t be shy – and wear comfortable (ish) shoes as you’ll spend quite a lot of time on your feet.
Obviously no pictures are allowed so don’t be that chump who ruins it and gets kicked out. The security are eagle eyed so they will catch you.
It’s also not the cheapest of places to eat and drink so expect to spend a few pounds…or francs.
And if you feel under dressed there are also opportunities to purchase fancier threads.
For fans of the 2001 hit, its an overload of pastiche. You will love it. And even if you haven’t seen it, the whole evening is so bonkers and overblown, you’ll still leave smiling.
Tickets start at £49 and the show runs until June (www.secretcinema.org) – so you’ve still got time.
So if you can can can – then you should certainly do.