BIG SCREEN ON THE BEACH | London, Roundhouse

For the last couple of years, the Roundhouse has been gleefully assisting the London public with the opportunity to get sand in all the right/wrong places with an artificial beach on their roof in Camden. This year, they’ve thrown a big screen movie experience into the mix.

Outdoor public cinema is of course a formula that has been tried and triumphed in London before (Somerset House’s Summer Screen being the most notable example) so what makes this different? Well, on the evidence of opening night, the deck chairs and sand lend an escapist texture that is hard to beat. The sunset was a lucky and brilliant addition and the food/drink combos are forgivably priced.

How about the film programme? The Goonies were certainly a crowd-pleasing start. There was a match here of seaside and cinema nostalgia as there is elsewhere in the schedule (Zoolander, Four Weddings, Back to the Future). There’s also some box-fresh releases in there, along the lines of Lala Land, T2 Trainspotting and Wonder Woman. Pretty decent and the sort of selection that any mid-2000s pick’n’mix foyer would be proud of.

As for the screening, the image is crisp and the sound though initially a little low in the open-air mix is about right by an hour in (maybe our ears have just adjusted). And is there political intent in this opening screening? When Mikey bemoans ‘if we don’t do something now there’s going to be a golf course right where we’re standing,’ it’s difficult not to think of the political forces that would value a golf course over most other forms of bright-eyed optimism. Maybe that’s reading too much into a programme that is well worth checking out even without a level of political-filmic conspiracy theory. Food for thought, mind.

Roundhouse Beach 2017 is presented by and runs 17-29 July. For full listings click here.

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