Thursday 18 September 2014

Angelina & Midi-Me go back... to the future

Families NW Sept 2014

After a VERY late lie-in caused by VERY late unsupervised tv watchage and probable extreme- loom-banding, it was difficult to scrape Midi-Me out of bed but eventually, she emerged, warm-faced and scribble-eyebrowed. I couldn't be too cross that she wouldn't get up because I had risen only an hour before that, thinking it was 8.30am and realising it was actually 12.30pm. Luckily it was Sunday. We were severely jet-lagged after our trip to Vancouver. The morning I had envisioned, therefore, padding around my bedroom in my Ragdale Hall Hotel slippers (I LOVE hotel slippers!) hair in curlers, idly perusing my closet for 50s friendly garb disintegrated before I could say “Great Scott!”

It was Secret Cinema day and even though we had been looking forward to it for a month, we had understandably not given much thought to what we would wear. Amongst the copious emails they sent in advance, there was one that stated prom-dresses were the order of the day but after the thunderous downpour that woke me up, I just couldn't countenance that idea. So I went as Bad Sandy from Grease instead. Midi-Me wanted to be Marty McFly himself and that would have been the sensible option, layering up jeans, denim jacket and bodywarmer, however I planted the idea of her spotty fifties dress that she'll soon grow out of, neck scarf, denim jacket and high pony tail. She looked cool! And I looked smokin' hot! Just the way it should be.

Secret Cinema, you see, is an event; they don't just show you the movie, they re-create it so that as soon as you arrive, you step into the scenes that unfold around you. This event's film was Back to the Future and they had transformed the Olympic park adjacent to Westfield shopping centre into the town square of Hill Valley, mid 20th Century America. (With a John Lewis staring down at you - but after a while it was okay – sort of took the place of the Sears store in the movie!)

So the whole point of the Secret Cinema lark is that as soon as you arrive, you are drawn into the scene with actors pacing around, involving you in what's happening. As we queued to enter, we were happily harassed by a well-built “Biff” (the bully) and we watched as “Marty” in his signature red body-warmer whizzed by with some friends on skateboards, stunt-jumping over a public bench. The attention to detail was really quite impressive; little houses belonging to families in the film had been mocked up, containing 50s style furniture and memorabilia; actors with dodgy American accents paraded around and interacted with everyone brilliantly, never losing character. There was a high-school dance with dancers hopping around, drawing us into the fun and of course Midi-Me and I (-never one to shy away from bad bopping and doing dodgy American accents-) got seriously involved.

At around 9pm, when it was much darker, special guest Bob Gale (co-writer and producer of the movie) came on to give a short, heart-warming speech and then he SAT RIGHT IN FRONT OF US on the damp green. It was mondo exciting and I couldn't help stealing a glance at the (very meta) sight of him, experiencing the audience watching his film, using his phone to film some of the more exciting theatrical bits where actors played out the scenes as they happened in the movie, right there before our eyes, even driving off in the famous Delorean car and zip-wiring from the re-created clock tower above the screen to the ground. Midi-Me was enthralled and actually so was I. The atmosphere was electric (which is an appalling cliché but it really was!) By the end of the night, our derrieres were very damp but it was nothing that a hairdryer and a hot chocolate couldn't fix. Since doing some digging, I've found out plans are afoot for a Back to the Future musical to coincide with the 30 year anniversary next year. Who knows; maybe in the future we've already gone back and seen it!

More notes from the edge at

Angelina runs Sing and Sign award-winning baby signing classes in Harrow, Bushey and Rickmansworth.