Secret Cinema: The Grand Budapest Hotel


As a lover of immersive theatre, I jumped at the chance to sample a “theatrical immersive experience” based around the upcoming Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel. It promised to plunge me into the glamour and opulence of the 1930s in fictional European state, Zubrowka.  I was sent a string of intriguing emails hinting at a secret location in Farringdon, asking me to adhere to a strict 1930’s eveningwear dress code (presumably to blur the lines between actors and audience), to read up on the history of Zubrowka, to fill in some travel documents which we should carry at all times, to memorise a poem, to bring something from a list of suggested items – a large amount of preparation which only served to increase my excitement.  Yet the evening itself left me feeling quite underwhelmed.

A long queue snaked towards a building with a projection of the hotel frontage – a very effective look from outside.  We were met by a string of hotel staff in their purple uniforms and guided towards an area where we could drop off our electronic devices and we then stepped into the grand reception – where they promptly took my travel documents, put them in a clipboard and I never saw them again.  So much for carrying them with me everywhere.  The vast majority of the audience had made the effort to dress up, yet there were a handful who were just there in skinny jeans and jumpers which rather spoilt the illusion – so much for the dress code.  Once into the main lobby, it became apparent that my previous experiences of immersive theatre and their painstakingly detailed sets had truly spoilt me.

My tickets were courtesy of Bargain Theatre.  To read the review in full, please click here.

(They have transposed it from past tense to present tense and there are a few SPG errors in their version.  It was immaculate when I sent it to them).


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