Love Island The Experience on Brighton Beach: was it any good?
A viewing party themed around one of the country’s most-watched shows has landed on Brighton Beach. But is it any good?
Created by The Luna Cinema, billed as the UK’s leading open-air cinema company, the officially-endorsed event east of Brighton Pier promised ‘a fully immersive Love Island environment, complete with unique sharable photo opportunities in the most iconic settings from the show, from the fire pit to the Beach Hut diary room, and more, alongside live screenings of the show on the UK's highest definition outdoor LED screens’.
But the unique selling point was appearances from departing contestants, followed by an after-party with a ‘specially curated playlist’.
The reality when I went on Friday (July 19) was different, to say the least. I should say from the outset that the weather was dreadful, which the organisers could not control.
But it exposed a fatal flaw in the whole concept that left me feeling as mugged off as Amber after being pulled for a chat by Michael.
From the get-go, it was clear the space was just too big. The weather forecast put paid to whatever passing trade the event could have had, so it was just a few dozen diehards braving the elements for a photo with Amy Hart or Elma Pazar.
Snaking barriers to queue for access to the sets were redundant. So were priority wristbands.
And with storm clouds roiling above, it was hard to picture yourself in Mallorca where the show is filmed, no matter how realistic the fire pit and bedrooms were.
The rest of the ‘unique shareable photo opportunities’ turned out to be little more than a giant tarpaulin with the Islanders printed on them.
It’s a shame it couldn’t have been fashioned into an impromptu marquee - or even a boat. Because once the heavens opened, moments after the show began, there was absolutely no protection from the elements.
Even being given deckchairs to sit on was a false economy; they transformed into mini paddling pools that left my friend and I completely drenched from all angles.
That being said, those who paid extra to sit in beach huts stocked with a mini bar were able to watch in comfort. Given the circumstances, it would have been nice if the organisers had opened the remaining huts for the rest of us to use, rather than watching us slowly dissolve.
If exclusive footage or interviews had been broadcast, there would have been an incentive to stay.
But that came before the episode, when Amy and Elma were quizzed about their experience by a Capital FM presenter: the highlight of the night.
So in the end, the prospect of watching Love Island on catch up, cozied up on the sofa with a hot beverage, proved too tempting for many.
And sadly, the only part of the playlist I heard was the Love Island theme tune - because the moment the credits rolled, what was left of the already decimated crowd beat a hasty retreat home.
It just goes to show what a difference the weather makes, and I’m sure with this week’s heatwave the event’s fortunes will turn around.
But it still doesn’t change the fact that my shoes have yet to fully dry out from Friday’s ‘experience’.
To quote every islander at some point this series: it is what it is.
For more information about the event, visit loveislandtheexperience.com.