30 July 2013

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

One of the best nights in London I've ever had (quite the accolade, having lived here for eight years and had my fair share of nights out) was a few Fridays ago at Future Cinema's fantastic Saturday Night Fever event.


I was disappointed at Secret Cinema's most recent recreation, Terry Gilliam's Brazil, spread across 13 floors in an abandoned office block in Croydon.  The film played second fiddle to the mad, experiential theatre they'd tried to build around it and I don't think it worked. The event was incoherent from start to finish, the volunteer actors were falling in and out of character, the confused costume briefs weren't relevant, with the audience in different attire spanning decades and classes, no one knew when it was supposed to be starting (and of all the dozens of people we spoke to, no one could make sense of it all or work out what the film was), then suddenly we realised that the film had already started and was quietly being played on screens dotted around, so no one was watching and you couldn't hear it unless you wanted to spend your Saturday night sat on the floor crowded around a little 80s TV.  The only engaging part was right at the end, with a man flying around the inside of the tower block.  Having not seen the film before, it didn't make sense.  But I suppose it looked good.  Plus the tickets were expensive, the drinks were a tenner each (and we needed a lot) and it was in Croydon.  Not convinced.


So we booked Saturday Night Fever to make up for Secret Cinema.  Everyone's assigned a gang before you go, so I had followed the Imperial Dukes dress code (the gang is always seen wearing at least one item of blue clothing, girls with gold jewellery), printed my compulsory fake NYC ID and jumped in a taxi with a couple of bottles of Babycham (to get into 70s character, natch) to head over to The Troxy in Limehouse in the East End.


Having never seen the film all the way through (everyone's seen the famous dance scene about a hundred times, but I've only ever seen parts of the rest on Film4), I was pleased that the film was played in its entirety, as the focal point of the evening.  Upon arriving, you get hustled past a nightclub queue through a crowd of New York accents, guys with gelled hair strutting around in open shirts and flares, afros and platforms with a whole lot of air-kissing, ass-grabbing, "hey Lana, come here honey, you gotta meet Donny"ing and cat-calling before entering the art deco theatre, transformed into 2001 Oydssey nightclub from the film.


Once inside, we learnt the dance moves, hit the floor for dance-offs, watched the pros in the dance contest before hitting the bar and hot dog stand to sit down for the film, during which the actors played out key scenes alongside the big screen.  Afterwards, disco fever took over the flashing dancefloor and everyone was dancing for hours to seventies disco classics. More thoroughly, properly-themed evenings pleased.
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