Disco fever hits London with Future Cinema

Peter Walker

Maybe it’s a hedonistic reaction to the age of austerity, maybe it’s a backlash against the rise of fiercely futuristic ‘EDM’, or maybe it’s just the cyclicality of music industry trends; whatever the reason, it appears that disco is back. The capital has caught disco fever, with a new bar dedicated to the genre and the illusive Future Cinema – who became infamous for their immersive Secret Cinema productions of Casablanca and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – choosing Saturday Night Fever as their latest project.

Turning Limehouse’s art deco theatre The Troxy into the film’s 2001 Odyssey nightclub, the team have enlisted disco diva Kym Mazelle – responsible for the Baz Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet version of Young Hearts Run Free – and Vauxhall DJ quartet Horsemeat Disco to provide the music, while volunteers run dance lessons, provide a 70s style beauty parlour, and man the photo booth installation in Tony Manero’s bedroom.

Saturday Night Fever always seemed like it would be such a fun film to bring to life, it’s a tough film in some respects, but it’s got such an incredible soundtrack,” Future Cinema’s founder Fabien Riggall told me. “There was this kind of feeling of disco in the air, what with Daft Punk recording an album using analogue 70s techniques, and a growing sense that everything we do is about coming together and celebrating the old days; creating something that’s really about dance floors and letting go on a Saturday night.”

Previous film interpretations have included turning an old school into the prison from The Shawshank Redemption, replete with guards regimenting moviegoers dressed in uniform, a prison riot and eventually the film itself once everyone was suitably institutionalised; so this version of Saturday Night Fever was never going to be your average 70s night.

“We wanted to make something very real and truthful, it needed that sleaziness because it’s a group of disadvantaged youths in the 70s who live for disco each Saturday. It’s quite a dark world and a dramatic film, so we don’t shy away from the darkness, but we use it to bring out the escape these kids have,” Riggall explained.

The memorable flashing dance floor has been painstakingly recreated and hooked up to the music, with the DJ encouraging dance-offs and actors playing out the key club scenes while the film is running on the big screen.

“We’re interested now in doing more clubbing-type experiences in the future,” says Riggall, mentioning the recent launch of Secret Music with Laura Marling. “We’re starting to take artists and create worlds around their music to allow the audience to be part of it in the same way we do with Secret Cinema,” he continues, adding “I hope we’ve untapped this curiosity in an audience, they’re looking for stuff that’s not all laid out, it’s about trusting your inhibitions and being more adventurous.”

Just as the disco trend spreads throughout the U.K. and over the Atlantic, so will Secret Cinema, as Riggall plans to take the concept across the country and over to New York in the future.

Tickets are still available for three more Saturday Night Fever Shows on June 28, July 4 and July 7

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