'Secret Cinema Presents Casino Royale' is the closest you'll get to being Bond without joining MI6

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
Stick or twist? Do you have what it takes to be a secret agent? (© Secret Cinema - Luke Dyson)

With Bond 25 still nearly a year from release, Secret Cinema has just opened its new Casino Royale experience, inspired by Daniel Craig’s 007 debut, to fill the James Bond-shaped void in your life.

And once again those immersive cinema geniuses have proved they have the Midas touch (or should that be a Goldfinger?) with Secret Cinema Presents Casino Royale being another unforgettable and involving event.

It also serves as a timely reminder that Casino Royale is still one of the best Bond films ever: Swaggering, visceral, and packed with iconic imagery, it remains the high benchmark for Daniel Craig’s Bond films, with only 2012’s Skyfall living up to it since. Can Bond 25 reach those highs again? Here’s hoping.

Where previous events have immersed you in the retro worlds of Back To The FutureRomeo+Juliet, and Moulin Rouge, or transported you into the grimy sci-fi vistas of Blade Runner, Alien, and Empire Strikes Back, Secret Cinema Presents Casino Royale recruits you into dangerous world of international espionage and high-stakes gambling.

Daniel Craig is 007. CASINO ROYALE © 2006 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Assigned a secret alias ahead of the event, it pays to have a sturdy backstory memorised for your character before you enter the Casino Royale (conveniently relocated from Montenegro to a secret London location) because as soon as you step through the front doors, your top secret mission - Operation Wildcard - begins in earnest.

Like Fight Club, the first rule of Secret Cinema is “you do not talk about Secret Cinema”, so we won’t spill too much detail about the confidential mission, or what it entails, but let’s just say if you’re familiar with the jet-setting locations of Casino Royale, you’ll feel right at home.

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The huge, but unassuming venue has been meticulously transformed inside into the world explored in the film, and guests will find much to enjoy exploring the many different areas, including one - and this isn’t a spoiler, see photo below - that resembles a very familiar quarter of Bond’s world.

Interacting with a host of wild characters, your night will take you on a journey around the world, with secret missions, clandestine meeting, and dramatic events that will make you feel like a real-life secret agent, except without the imminent threat of death.

Immerse yourself in the world of Bond. (© Secret Cinema - Luke Dyson)

The undercover mission sees you comfortably through the couple of hours you get from the doors of the casino opening to the start of the film, and how much you want to participate (or not) is entirely up to you. Those who throw themselves in with gusto will enjoy a rich, engaging story that draws on the themes of the film, but similarly if you’re more of a wallflower, the murder mystery style action will play out around you while you enjoy the event’s many bars and street food-style eateries ahead of the film.

The story of Operation Wildcard reaches its conclusion just before the start of the film with everyone gathered together, leaving you hyped for Daniel Craig’s debut to strut its stuff on the huge cinema screen.

Earn your licence to kill in the immersive world of Casino Royale. (© Secret Cinema - Luke Dyson)

The film itself enjoys the added benefit of having the most luxurious cinema-style seating that we’ve seen at Secret Cinema yet (VIP’s can also make use of table service), with the story augmented as usual by some live action theatrics, immersive lighting, and pyrotechnics.

Read more: The troubled timeline of Bond 25

Running from now until Sunday 22 September, Secret Cinema Presents Casino Royale is an essential event for James Bond fans that should tide them over until Bond 25 arrives (hopefully) in April 2020.

Full details and tickets can be found at tickets.secretcinema.org. Follow the story across social media using the hashtags #TrustNoOne.