THE Hackney Picturehouse opens on Friday 28 October in a handsome building opposite the town hall and near a plethora of bus and railway stops, potentially delivering plenty of customers.
The conversion from the failed Ocean music venue, into which Hackney council sunk millions of pounds, never to be hooked back [cut the line; this metaphor is drowning], cost City Screen, owners of the Picturehouse cinema chain, £3.5 million.
The decor, by the West End architect Fletcher Priest and BW Interiors, of Borough, is funky enough with its fashionable lighting, brightly upholstered sofas, slightly worn-looking armchairs and Eames-style café chairs to appeal to Rio fans. But it is not so overpowering as to deter the kind of audiences attracted by the Stratford Picturehouse.
The cinema will also stage art exhibitions and comedy.
The look is art-house yet blockbuster, and engenders a feeling of capaciousness, as well as stunning views of the town hall square. That may end when the full-length name sign is posted outside the building, blocking the windows.
Disabled access seems good and, unlike the Rio, the Picturehouse has the induction-loop system. Seats are adjustable like those on a plane – but with more space.
David Altheer 251011
* Prices: for non-members of the PH or the Rio, the Dalston venue is cheaper overall but on Mondays the PH is cheaper. Membership: the PH gives you single tickets to three screenings, the Rio 2; the PH gives £2 off a ticket, the Rio £1.
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