They had me at ‘mulled wine’. Then they threw in Edward Scissorhands on the big screen and my Sunday night was well and truly sorted. The ‘Festive Flicks’ season at Storyhouse takes place smack bang in the centre of it all – The Kitchen. Stand to the left of the bar, walk forward a few paces and you have it – candles on low tables and an array of stylish sofas and chairs set up in a curve just before the stairs.
As soon as we arrive at the venue there’s a welcome committee, hurrying us in from the cold, pointing us in the right direction. We’re given our headsets, pre-tuned and hit the bar for the free drink included in the ticket (mulled wine, glass of fizz or christmas ale). We snuggle up on one of the sofas and ready ourselves for some Tim Burton magic. You’re encouraged to arrive at 8, but (in our case) the film started some 20 minutes later. I’d do the same again; the perfect amount of time to nab one of the comfier seats, warm your hands on your drink, take advantage of the fairly priced snacks (only £1.50 for a share bag of m&ms) and relax.
The large screen is fed down from the ceiling, much higher than in a standard cinema, so you’ll need to ready your neck for a bit of leaning back – ours were a tad sore, but nothing that lingered beyond the quick walk home. The sound quality from the headset was great (you control the volume) and when mine suddenly failed in the middle of the film, staff were quick to sort me out with another.
Kudos to Storyhouse for making use of the space – usually only occupied by people walking to and fro across the floor. Behind us people ate dinner, conversed and worked away on their laptops. Above and to our right others perused the library books and explored the building. I quite liked sitting in the belly of the place, with things going on all around me. Sure, during the quieter moments of the film, you could pick up the music from the bar area, and the occasional peal of laughter and lively chat, but it was all part of the experience (much like the outdoor Moonlight Flicks – read our review here).
All of the films on offer as part of this series are classics. I expect that, like me, the majority of guests have seen ol’ Scissorhands tidy up unruly bushes into mythical beasts numerous times (pretty confusing if you’ve not seen the film, sorry), and wanted to come along to be social and liven up the end of the weekend. To this end, I think it succeeded. SH opted for a remastered version, where the colours popped, and the picture clarity was faultless. The odd black scene was painted red by the foyer lights above the screen – lending the film a somewhat sinister glow at points, but I doubt anyone cared. We were too busy necking our sweet, cinnamon infused wine, hogging the m&ms and enjoying the novelty of it all.
I also enjoyed the numerous Christmas trees in my peripheral, like the fairy lights on the screen expanded out. It made for a surprisingly cosy setting.
At £12, tickets were priced a little steeply for an old film – I’m thinking £4-5 covers the drink, then £7-8 is for the watching. A mince pie or two would’ve gone down a treat. But otherwise, hey, it’s a smart idea and something a bit different to fend off those looming Monday blues. I like to see our local arts venue making use of all its nooks and crannies, and being a little experimental. SH are trying to deliver a hell of a lot, after only opening earlier this year, and keen to make sure there’s something for everyone. I firmly believe that they’re learning, and keen to iron out the kinks as they (or we) stumble across them.
Support SH, and support your film nostalgia with a festive viewing of one of the below:
- Gremlins – 10th Dec
- It’s a Wonderful Life – 17th, 20th and 24th Dec
Or step into their actual cinema for a more conventional night and kick it old skool:
- Gremlins – 17th Dec
- It’s a Wonderful Life – 18th Dec
- Home Alone – 23rd and 24th December
More info and booking here.