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Cinema review: Future Cinema’s Casablanca

PUBLISHED: 14:21 20 March 2013 | UPDATED: 14:30 20 March 2013

Sam playing the piano in Future Cinema's recreation of Casablanca

Sam playing the piano in Future Cinema's recreation of Casablanca

Archant

Future Cinema’s recreation of Casablanca at The Troxy in Limehouse is pure magic.

If there’s one criticism of Future Cinema’s latest production Casablanca, it’s that their recreation of Rick’s ‘Café Americain’ is just so good I found it almost impossible to settle down to watch the film after revelling the night away there.

An off-shoot of the novel Secret Cinema concept - which sees film fans signing up to an immersive cinema experience to watch an unknown movie in an unknown location - Future Cinema actually fills you in on which film you’ll see in advance.

But the mystique and role playing element are still in tact.

There’s much anticipation in the build-up, as you receive messages from Rick about what to wear in Casablanca and which secret symbol you need to bring along to ensure a visa out of Morocco to America.

The idea is to live through the film before you actually watch it, and Casablanca was a suitably romantic choice of film to coincide with Valentine’s Day.

I had been given the pseudonym Valentine Erskanova, an Italian, and thankfully my friend and I printed out and stuck our passport photos on identity papers before turning up at the back streets of The Troxy in Limehouse.

Sirens eerily wailed out and orders were sinisterly barked out through loudspeakers making the place feel like a war zone, and those without the correct papers or costumes had to endure a body search up against the wall by actors dressed as soldiers.

Finally gaining entry to the building we went up the back staircase and past several mysterious looking candle-lit rooms, apparently drunken women and men offering exit visas.

Arriving at the top of the staircase to look down into the splendour of the Troxy’s grand art-deco interior took my breath away.

Future Cinema’s actors and actresses were doing a grand job at setting the scene in 1940s Morocco, some dancing away to a swing band, others gambling on roulette tables.

Some of the first to enter, we immediately thought of our stomachs and made our way over to the Blue Parrot Café - run by Exmouth Market’s Moro restaurant - to pick up a cous-cous and tagine before a long queue built up.

We also grabbed up a bottle of Rosé from the bar - without having to bribe anyone unlike at the last Future Cinema production I attended.

The Shawshank Redemption had been quite a harrowing prison experience, and in comparison Casablanca is more of a fantastical night out.

Throughout the evening we gradually lived through snippets of the movie, as actors began shouting at each other on the staircase, starting up fights and firing guns.

My favourite part was when the old classic tune came tinkling out of the piano and Rick began singing, “You must remember this, A kiss is just a kiss, a smile is just a smile.” Absolute magic.

We had a ball, soaking up the atmosphere for three hours.

I just wished the night could have stretched on a little bit longer before the movie began rolling. Others evidently felt the same as they carried on chattering for a while.

But I couldn’t imagine anywhere better to watch Casablanca, and it’s no wonder Future Cinema has such a cult following.

The show has been extended and there are still tickets for the show on Thursday March 21 at 6.30pm and Saturday March 23 at 12.30pm.

See http://futurecinema.co.uk/Casablanca/tickets.html.

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