The opening night of Illumini’s Secret Subterranean London exhibition in the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall promised to be an entertaining night of performances, art and light shows. But the Secret Subterranean show was in fact no secret at all and people turned up for the first night in the hundreds. Contrary Life turned up 10 minutes after kick-off time to a queue that was already stretched round the block. We braced ourselves for a long evening.
Whilst queuing various performers appeared to boost morale, including a man holding various orbs, two stilt-walking ladies and a woman resembling Great Expectations’ Miss Haversham. Despite their best efforts they couldn’t really make up for the long wait and the crowd easily polished off an off-licence worth of cheap lager to help pass the time.
By the time we got into the venue we realised we didn’t have long to get around, so we unfortunately rushed around the corridors and alcoves to see as much as we could of the various artworks before being turned back out onto the all-too-familiar Shoreditch streets. What I did see was actually quite good, with each corridor came a new piece of art. There was plenty to see from the gothic to the playful, with themes of wartime to the futuristic. Some works used space well, but I’d have liked to have seen more creative use of lights and the spooky basement area.
If there is no queue outside then I suggest you do pop by. Without the endless waiting and the angry crowds to deal with inside, it’s not a bad way to spend an hour. Don’t expect a tunnel though, something a lot of people queued half the night for apparently. It’s funny how some people will queue without actually knowing what it is they were queuing for.
When: 9th – 15th September 2010, 11am – 7pm
Where: The Basement Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT
More info: Illumini