On an appropriately gloomy and rain swept Winter’s night, I made my way to a warehouse building in North Melbourne to partake in “A Midnight Visit” staged by Broad Encounters. Billed as a ‘5 star immersive theatre experience’, “A Midnight Visit” is a maze of different rooms containing different experiences and themes, largely based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Despite not being familiar with all of Poe’s work, I do like the macabre / fantasy / horror genre, so I was very excited (and a bit nervous) to enter what I took to be like a ‘spook house / haunted house’ experience for adults.
There was so much I enjoyed about this experience! It pains me not to write too much as I don’t want to give too much away (despite ‘the experience’ changing regularly). I feel like in my hour and a half I was able to discover and visit many different rooms with different ‘feels’. Some rooms were spooky and macabre; others made me giggle and take in all the textures and surroundings. There was even a room with a ball pit , which I took particular delight in! There are rooms that you wish to linger in (the ball pit!) and other rooms where you almost feel like you shouldn’t be there, lest you see too much beyond the mortal veil. I’m sure some rooms are designed to push the ‘comfort level’ limits of visitors. Once you’re past the ‘receiving room’, the entire experience is like a ‘choose your own adventure’ story. There’s no set path to follow, just lots of curious spaces to discover and even more curious characters to meet – and what performances we were treated to! Seems everyone in the building is a great storyteller and the characters engage the audience so well. A quote from Poe is very apt here: “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” and this experience is quite dreamlike. Mentally I forgot I was in Melbourne entirely. Once I understood the flow of the evening, my nerves melted away and each new room I explored was done out of excitement more than hesitation, peeling back the curtain and peeking into different realms and seemingly worlds encased solely in rooms.
The entire experience itself is well staffed, managed and organised. From the moment you step through the threshold from the outside world into this otherworldly experience, you are in safe hands and there is guidance should you need it. This isn’t the kind of experience / ‘spook house’ where there are jump scares and characters are literally out to harshly grab / swipe at you. It’s a more thoughtful experience where you can choose how interactive you wish to be. All elements of the experience are combined beautifully and I wish I could have stayed longer – I was reluctant to leave when our timeslot ended, I wanted to remain the dreamlike world for an extended period of time.
It was a completely fascinating and entertaining evening and an exciting voyage into another world. Given that I visited almost a week ago and it has been on my mind regularly since then is testament to my enjoyment of the experience. In my opinion, the ticket price is well worth it for such a well run, enjoyable experience. “A Midnight Visit” travels and will be leaving Melbourne soon, so best to get tickets promptly for this one. Oh, and for those curious – no, the visit to this experience did not actually occur at midnight!
VERDICT: Best suited to adults (18+) due to themes and content, a fantastic escape from the ordinary and ‘day to day’ world. Mysterious, curious and exciting I was hesitant to leave and just wanted to keep exploring. Well worth a visit if you’re a Poe / literary fan or not.
Tickets / more information: https://amidnightvisit.com/