These days there seem to be as many pop-ups as there are brick and mortar buildings, but since one-off experiences coupled with an element of surprise are always welcome, we’ll keep the complaining to a minimum. Backyard Cinema, the brains behind the Winter Night Garden at Winterville and Romeo and Juliet in St Mary’s Church, have recently unveiled a forgotten jungle, conveniently unearthed in the heart of South London.
Aptly named ‘The Lost World’, the theatrical pop-up will be playing all of your favourite nostalgia-inducing adventure movies, from classics like Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park, to modern masterpieces like Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book remake.
And after repeatedly cursing myself for missing it the first time round, that’s precisely what I scrambled to see at ‘The Lost World’. I say scramble, as that’s quite literally what you’re required to do to gain entry. A dinky hidden doorway (ok, it’s pretty well signposted) gains you access to the temple, complete with low-hanging vines and fantastical relics, while a somewhat functional rope swing propels you towards the bar area. I didn’t get much air, but my friend undoubtedly enjoyed my graceful belly-flop into the foam pit below.
Once inside, the activities end, and for most, the drinking begins. Tiki-inspired cocktails, prosecco and craft beers mean guests have little trouble sinking back into their assigned beanbag chairs. After grabbing some bubbles and popcorn we headed towards ours – which proved to be an adventure in itself! While the oversized bean-stuffed seating was a welcome change to regular, rigid theatre seating, it was no mean feat getting to it. Be prepared to clamber haphazardly over all of the fellow guests in your path. And if that beer has you busting for a wee midway, expect to utilise the hand-holding services of many a moviegoer.
There was a 20-minute delay before the film began, and a few false starts to boot, but we weren’t bothered in the slightest. If anything it gave us a little more time in the temple, and an added layer of authenticity. I mean, if you’re to expect technical problems anywhere, the jungle seems like a reasonable place.
Once the film kicks off, all that’s left for you to do is snuggle into your tropical surrounds and enjoy the show. And that we did, from the unsuccessful swing in, to the far more successful tramp out into the still-bustling Mercato Metropolitao – Newington Causeway’s latest all-day food market.
If you haven’t yet immersed yourself in South London’s only hidden jungle, we suggest you make the venture.