Simon Columb attends the Tooting Arts Club Lido Cinema…
Prior to attending the Lido Cinema, you may define sitting outside and watching films as a difficult ordeal. Two well placed trees could hold a carefully balanced sheet whereby a film is projected upon it. The sound quality could dip and struggle to reach you and subtitles are selected by the hosts knowing that you won’t hear the audio clearly. This is not the case at Tooting Bec Lido this summer.
Theatre group Tooting Arts Club hold an annual ‘Lido Cinema’ to raise funds for future performances (this year, A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Rather than a shoddy big-screen and a tray to pass around, the “lido Cinema” is a thoroughly enjoyable, unique experience whereby the grassy area behind the pool itself is transformed into a cinematic paradise. Framed by arching branches, the screen is clear and well-located – and as the double-bill begins at 9pm you can be sure that no seating position is affected by the sunlight setting. High-quality amps mean that the sound is perfect and the train line that runs by is never a problem and, in fact, simply reminds you of the cinema-experience you are taking part in. As a bonus, Richard E. Grant shouting “I feel like a pig has shat in my head” is that much more glorious when the space is outside. Could an evening stroller walk by the common and hear a stray c-word uttered in drunken stuppor and clarified in Grant’s exquisite tongue? I hope so.
Add to the screening itself hot dogs, nachos and alcohol with optional cushions, chairs and rugs (though you are welcome to bring your own) and you can be as comfortable as you need to be when viewing. Furthermore, I understand the back-up umbrellas-and-chairs plan is successful too if the heavens do open up. An easy set-up in a prime location is effortless and watching the sun go down on Tooting Bec Common before firing up Withnail & I alongside This is Spinal Tap is the perfect start to the summer – or even the ideal activity after a tough week.
These evenings can be booked in advance or bought on the day; you can finish the evening at 11pm and enjoy only one film – or be hardcore and watch the well-placed double-bill. Coming up are 80s favourites Ghostbusters and An American Werewolf in London on Saturday 28th July with comedy classics Duck Soup and Annie Hall on Sunday 29th July. See here for more information.