Stranger Things: Secret Cinema. An unforgettable experience.
Updated: Feb 8
As many of you already know; stranger Things is vey near and dear to me for a multitude of reasons.
When secret cinema announced they were going to be doing stranger things, of course I had to go... twice.
(This review is non specific as I don’t wish to ruin anything)
First time I went as a normal ticket goer and the second time I decided to upgrade myself as a VIP. There’s not a huge different between ticket perks, other than with VIP you’ve essentially pre bought your food and drink, you get to line skip, and you get escorted straight into a scene/ area at the start that I believe you don’t get to see if you buy a standard.....If I’m honest there’s probably actually a tonne of perks, but I was too distracted doing everything else to notice. Whoops.
I'm in total agreement of their no phones/ cameras, no spoiling etc policy but by god I'd love to take photos in there. I thankfully brought my camera with me and got some great shots of the entrance!
Why did I go twice you ask?
So the unique thing about this experience is (well, everything) that there are multiple stories running on at once, it is literally impossible to get them all in one go. You’ve got to pick your storyline (or accidentally find it which is more likely) and run with it. So there was a couple of areas I wasn’t able to get into the first time (due to over capacity of people seeing a huge group and tagging along, most likely) and I just desperately wanted to know what was behind those doors.
Both times I went I was actually able to follow two completely different storyline sets, which I was incredibly impressed with. If anything I enjoyed the second time round more as, having never been to a secret cinema before in general I spent a lot of the first time just sorta standing around not knowing what to do.
I even went to a few areas I wasn’t even aware were there on my first go!
The details of the sets are really amazing, (I wonder where all of it goes after they’re done with it and do I need to take out a whopping great big loan to keep bits of starcourt in my house) and impossibly immersive. From the moment you’ve stepped past the starcourt mall sign you really do feel like you’ve been transported back in time. Helped by the fact that there is a dress code for attendees to blend in, and all the cast have wardrobes I want to raid.
Both times I’ve gone I’ve been astounded by how much detail they’ve managed to cram into such a seemingly small space, and one of the most amazing ones is the character castings.
All of the main characters from the show are impeccably cast; it was very surreal, you’d have thought they’d have actually cloned them and put them in. Their faces, mannerisms, voices and even their height were to a T perfect.
I have an absolute tonne of respect for these actors as they’re the same ones each time, performing from 5/6-10:30 non stop from December to the start of March. I’m already nervous thinking about doing anything on stage, let alone improv performing a character where you have to interact with your audience and they can interact back.
As (although you know what’s going on/ what’s next as if you’re like me you’ve seen the series about a million times by now) it’s very very important you try and let the story come up organically and play along, and don’t try and answer all the questions or push the narrative forward yourself, unless you’ve been asked to by a cast member.
We did sadly find an audience member who tried to do this, but the actors were professional and quickly managed to stop her from ruining the whole damn scene before she ruined everyone’s fun. It’s interact-able, sure, but when they’re obviously performing a scene. It’s theatre; appreciate the hard work and shut it.
On the note of professional actors, part of the reason I went back twice is because of how easy they made you feel comfortable. Having small unique interactions with characters can leave you feeling like you actually did something good and that you made a friend, and they’ll remember you later! Considering how many people must go through there each performance (I’m almost entirely face blind, myself) it really helps make the whole experience so personal and special.
I wish I could tell these actors/ set designers/ wardrobe and the whole shibang how much I appreciated all the hard work they’ve put in to make this secret cinema something so special, that I am genuinely bummed to leave.
I would go again but sadly I’m just too busy this month, and by next month it’ll be gone forever! And all the cast and crew can finally take a damn nap.
As I’ve delved into 80s fashion more over the last year, this whole event felt like a little home for a bit, I feel very inspired.
I’ll be sneaking more and more old junk into the house until Josh notices.