This is one of the worst kept secrets of the cinema world. It’s not how Tom Cruise stays so young or why they’re still making Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Welcome to the world of immersive cinema. Launched in 2007, Secret Cinema is redefining the movie experience. No more headache inducing 3D, get your headache curtesy of alcohol! Did you really expect me to visit 1899 Paris without indulging in the good stuff? I’m talking about the Moulin Rouge and champagne, darling! (No green fairy hallucinations for me).
The experience, for me, started with panic. My invitation to the Moulin Rouge was last minute and a costume had to be acquired, for I was a journalist. I don’t remember too many of them in the movie but I was grateful for a… erm… comfortable costume. I was identifiable by an orange handkerchief. I had notepads and pens in abundance. I had just put the final touches together on the tube as we pulled into Canning Town. Venue unknown, we were left in the hands of stewards as scores of people in feathers, stockings and top hats left the station uncertain and excited. Phones in plastic bags, francs distributed and away we go.
Enter the errr … Time Tunnel … There were flashing lights and black curtains. Beyond those curtains is 1899 Paris! Actors were dressed in the fashion and it was quite obvious who was who. I don’t know how they found these people but they were the spit of the original actors. Fake Christian had a fantastic voice. And that’s something I wasn’t expecting. High quality entertainment and higher quality setting. It almost seemed a shame that was all set up for such a brief period of time! And you had the odd dickhead in modern clothing.
What a privilege to experience. The movie was screened on the Moulin Rouge stage, the gentleman in the circle and the children of the underworld on the dance floor and, in my case, hanging off the supports and banisters. It always feels good to be a part of something sold out rather than be green with jealousy. The Diamond Dogs gave us a show before the credits rolled, mixing the old favourites from the film and some modern stuff like Kayne West. They took what we know and love, and they made it better. After the Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann can’t be trusted to be Baz Luhrmann. Let these guys give us the next big musical movie sensation.