A Magical Christmas Movie Experience has arrived in Manchester this winter, yet another addition to the city’s bursting festive calendar. With drinks, food from Manchester vendors and an impressive array of films being shown at the pop-up cinema in Mayfield Depot, I went along to see a screening of Home Alone (an essential watch for me every December).
The much-promoted entrance to the experience through wardrobe doors – complete with hanging furry coats – gives way to a path through snowy ‘moonlit’ trees and a tunnel of white lights. Photo opportunities a-plenty, and it had us feeling instantly Christmassy.
The food offer isn’t particularly extensive, but what we did get from the stands was delicious: brie and chutney topped burgers, seasoned chips, and generous portions of mulled wine. We also took advantage of the tempting hot chocolate menu, with all kinds of toppings, syrups and cocktails available.
The only problem with the whole experience was that we missed the start of the film, and were very surprised to walk in and find that Kevin was already home alone. As an experience that charges £15 a head, rather than a standard cinema trip, I was expecting there to be some kind of announcement telling us when the film was due to start.
The screening space itself is under one of the depot’s beautiful brick arches, with lights projected onto the ceiling. It was surprisingly well-heated for such a large space, though we did end up taking advantage of the cosy blankets on offer. At the end of the screening, we left via the packed food court area – the audience for the next screening were already in, listening to live music – and had a decidedly less magical exit, past a skip.
Overall, this is a really nice idea but needs a bit more attention to detail to make it truly magical (and worthy of the ticket price). I do hope it will return to Manchester next year though – Mayfield is an amazing venue that deserves to be used and visited, and it’s nice to get the opportunity to hunker down with a Christmas film somewhere that isn’t your own sofa.