Future Cinema takes iconic films and turns them into live, interactive experiences that bring the audience into the world of the movies. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a perfect choice for their latest cinematic extravaganza. With a combination of live-action and animation, the film was ahead of its time when originally released in 1988. As a big fan of the film, I was curious to see how Future Cinema would bring Toon Town to life.
Taking over east London’s Troxy, the majestic building was transformed into the Ink & Paint Club. Complete with lamps on the tables and red and gold chairs, the venue really felt like an extension of the film’s iconic location. But the experience started long before we got into the building. A queue formed quite early, as eager fans dressed in their best 1940s attire. Staff were also suitably dressed, as the Toon Patrol and a growling gorilla kept everyone in check.
Making our way inside, I noticed an open door. Curiously peeking inside, I saw Jessica Rabbit singing to herself behind a screen, getting ready for the night’s performance. As we continued down the smoky, atmospheric corridor, friendly and enthusiastic staff greeted everyone as we made our way to the tables.
Food was suitably themed, such as the French Dip (a Roast beef baguette), Pulled Porker, Hot Dawg, Mickey Mac ’n’ Cheese, Carrot in a bun and Carrot Cake! Cocktails included the Baby Herman, Jessica Rabbit (very nice it was too), Toon Patrol, A Valiant and Bunny Boiler!
We were then treated to some classic tunes from the house band, who later recreated the duelling pianos scene from the Ink & Paint Club, with Donald and Daffy projected behind them. Between performances, the host channelled Tony Clifton as he energetically engaged with the crowd . Bongo surprised everyone with an incredible operatic voice and Diva sang some sultry jazz. The audience were even encouraged onto their feet to learn the heel toe bop before dancing with Betty Boop. The penguin waiter even got on stage to tap dance with Millie and Maisy, which had everyone clapping their hands and stomping their feet. Jessica Rabbit then took to the stage to sing her trademark song, before making her way through the crowd. Many of the performances slowly descended into complete cartoon chaos as Roger Rabbit dashed through the venue, with the Toon Patrol hot on his fluffy tail.
When the film started, the cast came back out to re-create and enhance key scenes live. As Eddie Valiant watched the show with R.K. Maroon in the audience, their movements were perfectly in sync with the film. Later, when Roger Rabbit turned into an alcohol-fuelled rocket, the really lights amplified the action. By the end of the film it had turned into one big party, with the stylishly dressed audience invited to join Jessica Rabbit and crew to dance the night away.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit - The Live Cinema Experience was wildly entertaining and better than I could have imagined. Future cinema made a great job of interpreting the film and bringing it to life in brilliant detail.
Once you’ve experienced Future Cinema, you’ll never want to go back to normal cinema again!
Secret Cinema is tackling Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel next, which is sure to be another smash hit!