I had high hopes for the Underground Cinema DREAM night in Sydney. I liked the idea of an interactive, immersive experience in a secret location, and based on a movie that was to be revealed on the night. ‘Underground’ had a touch of cool to it – ‘secret location’ was a bit exciting – immersive experience – I was imagining some sort of awesome movie set that I’d be able to go Instagram-crazy on – and movie to be revealed on the night…. well, I was less excited about that part, to be honest. At $70 each, the tickets weren’t cheap, and to take a chance on the movie at that price was a bit of a risk. But, persuaded by a friend, I bought the tickets.
Instructions followed. We were told to ‘dress for success’. Now I love the chance to dress up. The theme wasn’t one I would have picked myself, but I spent some time thinking about which outfit to wear, coordinated with Mrs Neilsonparc, and got ready..
The ‘departure point’ for our experience turned out to be the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). A bit disappointing to be honest – not very cool at all – but at least it was convenient to get to after work. And ‘departure point’ offered the possibility that we were just meeting there and would be taken to a different venue. Alas, no, the event was all hosted in UTS.
Looking around, some of the other participants had stepped up to the ‘dress for success’ challenge – there’s nothing worse than going to a fancy dress event and finding yourself the only one that’s made an effort – but some had made less effort.
As we queued to get into the venue we quickly picked up the theme for the night – we were to be tested in various way to see if we had the qualities we needed to be selected for the elite and to be part of the event. I immediately felt like I was back at work on one of those hideous management retreat training courses. And the sinking feeling just got deeper as we were subjected to test after test. But maybe the venue itself was spectacular – maybe the Instagram photos would make up for it? Alas, no. The main venue was a UTS student bar – quite possibly one of the least cool bars I’ve ever been in – excepting RSL bars of course.
By the time we actually got to the movie it was getting to the stage where I was calculating when the movie was likely to end, and thinking about how on earth to get home from UTS at that time. After seeing the opening titles, working out which movie it was, Mrs Neilsonparc and I elected to go home and watch the movie on Netflix. Which we did.
Our verdict: 0/10 – maybe I started with the wrong expectation, but I didn’t enjoy this at all, and it certainly wasn’t worth the $140 we paid. The concept is a good one, but the execution in this instance didn’t work for me. Having said that, there did seem to be a lot of people who enjoyed it..