We don't know what to expect from Secret Cinema's latest production.
Partly because it's their first foray into... immersive TV, we guess?... chucking out their standard formula of big world-building with a film screening as the focal point of the event. And partly because we lost steam with Stranger Things mid-season two, so most of their source material is also a mystery to us.
Our main concern is that we'll be a bit bored, and/or (bigger concern) Quite Frightened.
So: abandoning all narrative tension, we can tell you that it is, even for Stranger Things dilettantes like us, an absolute banger. Their best yet, that we've been to, by some way.
And that's also one of the few things we *can* tell you: the usual secrecy applies and in the case of this production, is genuinely merited; it's worth letting Hawkins' mysteries reveal themselves on the night, letting the surprises be surprising.
Stacked up against previous Secret Cinema events? Same sky-high production values as always, the aesthetic compelling from the flickering neon to the grainy little television sets to the starchy-suited, big-haired eighties Americana.
This feels intimate compared to recent productions, though, the narratives easier to find, the threads easier to pick up — the immersiveness more immersive, basically. Less like a series of disconnected tableaux, and more like being at a very eighties party with a lot of secrets bubbling to the surface.
It's a very, very affectionate adaptation of the show — plenty of big set-pieces, but also plenty of small, tender touches. This is the weird, wired and warm-hearted tribute that Hawkins deserves. And it made us want to go back and watch the entire show, start to finish.
We weren't bored. We were, occasionally, Quite Frightened. Worth it.
Secret Cinema Presents Stranger Things is currently running to February, 2020 at a secret London location. Tickets start at £52 and sell out quickly, but there's still some availability for January-February if you move fast. Get your tickets here.