Around the back of Waterloo station there is a city known as Brooklyn. Brooklyn is underground, located within a maze of tunnels. It’s characterised by seedy lighting, glitter balls and strange accents. Brooklyn is also currently stuck in 1977, addicted to disco music and John Travolta’s elastic hips.
“New-Yorker’s” welcome you into this hidden city. The street is a blur of activity — record stores, cries of “hot-dogs, get your hot-dogs” and dancers shimmering by. In the Pussy Lounge, a stripper writhes on a pole as 7 and 7’s are mixed flamboyantly behind the bar. This is all before the main event has even begun.
After grabbing a cocktail and some popcorn, you are ushered into the Everyman cinematech where fluffy-fur seats await. The atmosphere is electric throughout the showing, with live performers dancing during the film’s, sorry, movie’s, disco numbers. Saturday Night Fever itself is still a captivating watch, with each hip flick and misogynistic put-down invoking a loud reaction from the packed cinema.
After the credits roll, you finally get a chance to unleash your disco feet. Performers in big heels and even bigger collars teach the moves on a light-up dance floor, and on Friday and Saturday the after-party continues for hours. The only downside to Saturday Night Fever is that it is quite expensive to start with, and when you get inside the food and drink isn’t cheap. One would expect more free perks for the ticket price. This might deter some, but those who do go into the tunnels are in for a treat. Theatre; cinema; night out? Saturday Night Fever offers it all.
The event is a clear challenge to the excellent Secret Cinema, and this is a clever and promising first offering. The question is: what happens after the night fever wears off?
Saturday Night Fever runs at Old Vic Tunnels, Station Approach Road, SE1 8SW until 21 July. Go to the Old Vic Tunnels website for more information and to book tickets.