Review: Dirty Dancing, Hackney Downs, E5

PUBLISHED: 16:48 05 September 2013 | UPDATED: 10:29 06 September 2013

Future Cinema's Dirty Dancing at Hackney Downs. Credit: Mike Massaro

Future Cinema's Dirty Dancing at Hackney Downs. Credit: Mike Massaro


It’s one of the best loved chick flicks of all time so with more than 4,000 women watching it on an outdoor cinema screen, there was always going to be a great atmosphere.

But this wasn’t just a screening, the audience were immersed in the world of Kellerman’s Mountain Resort – where the iconic film is set – with activities including yoga classes, archery, life drawing, a talent contest and a dance tentl.

Unfortunately our group didn’t get to explore all the quirky goings-on at the Hackney Downs event before the film as our mad Friday evening dash from work seemed to coincide with all other ticket holders and there was a bit of a wait to get in – but the film was the main event, so we weren’t too disappointed.

After a quick look around we set up camp on the grass and enjoyed the Kellerman’s-style entertainment on the main stage which preceded the film and included a dance and sing along to some of the film’s iconic tracks, including Hungry Eyes and Time of our Lives.

The event was hosted by Future Cinema, the creative team behind the hugely popular Secret Cinema series of interactive outdoor film screenings where the details are kept completely under wraps until the day.

But with Future Cinema people are informed up front and were asked to dress in suitable 60s attire, with props including beach balls and watermelons.

The venue had the feeling of a festival, and unlike some immersive cinema experiences you could choose how much you got involved.

By the time the film started anticipation was high – and the air was pierced by high-pitched screaming when Johnny, played by the late Patrick Swayze, made his first appearance. The one-liners throughout the film – including “nobody put s Baby in the corner” – were met with equal delight.

Once the film had finished, more 60s rock n’roll boomed out of the speakers for revellers to continue dancing the night away.

All in all this was the perfect way to spend a summer’s evening and I look forward to what Future Cinema come up with next time.

**** (Four stars)

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