Backyard Cinema, London August 2016

by Emma Bumpus on August 5, 2016

Careertraveller and family take to church in London’s ‘Marylebone’ where gospel choir, leisure infused deck chairs and Baz Luhrman’s extravagant movie ‘Romeo and Juliet’ make way for an electrifying balmy summer’s evening of unique entertainment.

In the heart of the capital we enter this awesome 19th century Grade 1 listed building whose 21st century Georgian renovation, £3.7 million to be precise, is a tribute to English architect Sir Robert Smirke. Giant concrete pillars with stone portico and tower are a dramatically romantic setting for a modern twist of William Shakespeare’s tragic drama born of the Renaissance.

Inside is a cultural feast of heavenly white lilies, ceremonial candles and daring neon lights that set the scene for the Film Director’s legendary urban remake of Romeo and Juliet. In the words of Shakespeare himself:

‘In fair Verona, where we lay our scene….
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life’

stands a giant slick movie screen placed artistically amidst an altar of elegant floating drapes, which full of lights and fabric flowers displays a funeral pyre of romantic drama revealing BAFTA award winning screenplay and chart topping soundtracks.

Before taking our pews we screen the bar downstairs in the basement for some good old-fashioned goodies that come in the form of traditional hand-popped Propercorn popcorn and pick and mix sweeties bursting inside vintage suitcases! Armed with a bottle of Fentimans botanically brewed Curiosity Cola in a playground of fluorescent candy coloured lighting and booming fashionable soulful tunes we embrace this quirky setting and prepare for intrepid action and drama.

Centre stage we sit beneath a harmonious church stained glass window that provides show-stopping contrast to the opening movie track ‘Crush’ by Garbage, whose famous obsessive love rock lyrics deliver a theatrical explosive prologue. Immediately thrown into the turbulent inner-city world of the Capulets and Montagues we begin a sensory experience of emotions that are intensified by Luhrman’s fast paced intense action scenes, fuelled with atmospheric sounds of the nineties and gangster gunfire.

Just when things couldn’t get any better enter Some Voices choir, whom dressed in characteristic blood red gowns take church to the movies in true celebratory style. Melodiously contemporary and crystal clear voices deliver a heady mix of raw emotion and grace to poignant scenes from the film that take cinema to another level. Elegance and soul mixed with an edgy mix of rock and tender tunes are a rhapsodic rollercoaster brimming with artistic talent and budding young entrepreneurism, literally born from watching movies in the back garden, hence Backyard Cinema.

Scenes from the Capulet Ball unravel this tragic love story of passion, misery and violence with lavish props and costumes that exacerbate family feuding. The flamboyantly cinematic Mercutio brings theatre to the aisles with glitzy costume razzamatazz and show stopping dancing that blasts rhythms to the tune of Kim Mazelle’s ‘Young Hearts Run Free’. Superb! From disco to pop, Verona comes to town with Des’ree’s honey sweet ‘Kissing You’ vocals, which sensationalised by the choir raises the roof with evocative love story tones that speak from the heart.

Shakespeare’s famous balcony scene is climax topper with Some Voices choir whose hauntingly crisp chorale version of ‘When Doves Cry’ by Prince slams the distinguished lyrics of love and pain, exposing Luhrman’s clever use of Christian symbolism as Romeo and Juliet play in a pool of love.

As the plot thickens and the candles burn we enjoy a compelling night at the movies, which swamped in Leonardo Di Caprio superstardom, beckons more. Mood enhancing, spiritually uplifting and hugely entertaining, Backyard Cinema are a refreshingly artistic alternative to an ordinary night at the flicks, brilliant!

Further information:

Backyard Cinema
Some Voices

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