Backyard Cinema, a pop-up auditorium at south east London’s Mercato Metropolitano (in 2017 – check the bottom of this feature for details of the 2019 venue, in Wandsworth), hosted a Winter Night Garden. The company are known for their immersive, theatrical events and festival atmosphere. The previous run of cinema screening had a jungle setting, complete with coconuts and vine trees. This time, the Winter Garden was an indoor enchanted forest, where you could watch a festive array of Christmas classics, including Home Alone, Elf, Love Actually and It’s a Wonderful Life.
We chose Home Alone. Entry to the auditorium was timed. We queued at the entrance, where a woman in a red Mother Christmas took our tickets, and opened the wardrobe door. After pushing through some outfits hanging in the wardrobe, we walked into a tunnel of twinkly trees (which you can see in the little video we posted here), on through a snowy forest, then out into an auditorium full of bean bags with blankets. The bean bags had comfortable backs, so you could properly snuggle in. With the scent of mulled wine in the air, and Christmas lights strewn among the winter foliage hung along the walls, it was a proper Christmas treat.
Instead of the regular trailers and ads, before the film we were treated to a series of vintage snippets of old crooners, like Fred Astaire singing Christmas tunes. And then, onto the film itself. Home Alone is a crowd-pleasing, slapstick-full family movie that has definitely improved with age since its first release. It has just the right balance of schmaltz and cartoon violence. The setting of the early 1990s gives it a twee, olde-worlde vibe. Most of the drama would have been avoided if the characters had mobile phones, or facebook to help rally the neighbours into rescuing young Kevin (Macauley Culkin) from his burglar-driven siege.
(In 2017) The Winter Night Garden was set in Mercato Metropolitano – a hipster hubbub of vintage clothes and gourmet Italian street food. Yum!
This year’s Backyard Cinema is at Capital Studios, Ram Quarter, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, London, SW18 1ET, until 19 Jan 2019