Palace Electric – The Lights are On!
by The Editor
Last night (23 January 2013) the brand spankin’ new Palace Electric cinemas at New Acton threw their doors open for drinks and nibblies along with a preview of David O Russell’s latest offering Silver Linings Playbook. Let’s talk more about the former and less about the latter, shall we?
The location of Palace Electric offers a wonderful approach. To finally be close the complex facade of the striking Nishi building reveals a wonderful addition to Canberra’s skyline. It’s extraordinary.
Entering the foyer of Palace Electric the broad expanse of the space, along with a sleek ticket and refreshments counter off to the left. Here you can grab your ticket, popcorn (made with extra-virgin olive oil, if you don’t mind) and make your way through the narrowing passage towards your cinema.
However, that’s not all folks. Between you and your plush new armchair waits what is known as the Prosecco Bar. An island structure selling Brown Brothers (major sponsor), Helm and Clonakilla wines, as well as beer and soft drinks – it’s a bit off a step up in quality. Most notable are the house-made ChocTops made with Connoisseur ice cream. Surely they couldn’t be bad for you!
The bar did its job beautifully under the strain of a couple of hundred after-five freeloaders, with punters able to access drinks from 360 degrees to retrieve bottles of the Prosecco bubbly as Ashley Feraude played tunes accompanied by a trumpeter. Ra-ther!
The decor takes the industrial chic so popular right now (thankfully free of the obligatory graffiti feature wall) but decorates relatively simple walls with bright neon accents. The neon cinema signage as well as lighting over the Prosecco Bar give the palace its ‘electric’ feel, and in turn offers a gentle nod to the old haunt of local cinephiles, Electric Shadows. It’s a charming tribute if not just a tad cute (Dendy owns the rights to the Electric Shadows name!).
The theatre itself is, as promised, laid out like an ampitheatre. This is a nice change, as those on the wings are angled slightly towards the screen which makes two hours of viewing a lot more comfortable. The introduction by Palace Cinema CEO Benjamin Zeccola explained the company was very much taken to Molonglo Group’s dedication to sustainability, and are looking to incorporate thus within the cinema experience.
More importantly, Benjamin comes from a close Italian family – his father Antonio is the patriarch of the group. We were told this feeling of family is something they want to permeate throughout the cinema experience – the idea of friends, family, food and fun. If they can pull this off, it may make Palace Electric the perfect antidote to the megaplex experience.
And the movie?
Well, let’s just say as a rom-com, it does what it says on the box. There’s a few good hours worth of eye candy with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, but certainly Silver Linings Playbook won’t set the gold standard for cinema at Palace Electric. A collection of film festivals with regular homes in Sydney and Melbourne are due to visit for the first time this year. Also, with screenings of the Paris Opera it appears certain the city is getting another high quality cinema experience.
Can Canberra sustain it? Well, perhaps that is a story for another time.
Palace Electric Cinema