Showcase Cinema in Batley is something of an odd beast – a US style picture house in a West Yorkshire suburb. As a member of a multinational chain, one would expect it to offer a different experience to the more independent cinemas on this list, and this it certainly does. However, this status aside, how does it stand up as a movie theatre in its own right?
One of the more intriguing things about the Showcase is the exterior design. It’s something quite apart from even the local Vues and Odeons, never mind the older brick-built cinemas in the area; with its red and white colour scheme row of thin columns before the entrance, you’d be forgiven for thinking it had been ripped right out of 1950’s America. What’s more, the current films on show are still displayed on a large board outside; a nice touch which helps give it a very different feel to its local competitors.
Inside, however, is a slightly different matter. While the outside is something straight from the 50’s, the interior looks like it hasn’t been maintained since then. The whole thing is starting to look a bit dated; the carpets are getting worn and threadbare, and in places the paint is just beginning to flake off. It’s hard to avoid the feeling that this place would benefit heavily from a bit of renovation.
With 16 screens and around 4,000 seats, the Showcase is significantly larger than most of the cinemas featured in this series, which means you’ll seldom struggle to get a ticket. As part of a chain however, this is to be expected.
It does suffer though from the same problem laid out above; a lack of care and maintenance. The Showcase is getting a little old now, nowhere does this show more than in the state of their seating; some are starting to squeak, and the padding is wearing thin. If you’re watching a film that isn’t too long, this might not be all that noticeable, but with the increasing length of summer blockbusters, this poor support is liable to have you leaving your three-hour film with a sore back and a fair number of complaints.
Films on Show
As to be expected, the Showcase screens pretty much the usual fare of Hollywood hits; nothing out of the ordinary, but then again, they never pretended to be. If the mood took you, you might be able to go and see something slightly more cultural; there are occasional showings of ballets and National Theatre plays, along with a few opera screenings. Those looking for more independent or foreign-language films however might be better off going elsewhere. For entertainment’s value though, the Showcase can’t be criticised.
Ticket prices are pretty standard, at £8.90 for a regular. However, the Showcase does differentiate itself by offering an (albeit scarcely cheaper) off-peak ticket scheme, in which showings before 5pm weekdays and 1pm weekends are discounted.
All things considered, the Showcase does have a pleasing aesthetic that won’t be found elsewhere locally, and the owners would update the seating and perhaps give it a quick coat of paint, it would give the other cinemas of its kind a run for their money. However, until it does, you would perhaps do well to take a slightly longer drive and save your back from the ache.
More information at www.showcasecinemas.co.uk
Part of Adam’s ‘Yorkshire’s Independent Cinemas‘ series for TSOTA. View the full series HERE
Filed under: Film, TV & Tech