Review: The Hansel & Gretel Immersive Cocktail Experience

The door to adventure!

In the typically bustling Docklands / District Docklands precinct on a sunny Sunday afternoon, a friend and I met up the top of an escalator outside a mysterious door marked only as ‘Hansel & Gretel’….now I’m sure you’re all familiar with the old fairytale of Hansel & Gretel and the witch within a candy house, well this experience made this fairytale concept REAL within a modern day metropolitan space. For beyond the big black doors, we said goodbye to the cheery weather and hello to the dark forest and the witch’s gingerbread house (note: house itself sadly not edible!)

The guides / hosts for your adventure that awaits are Hansel & Gretel themselves, and it was lovely to be welcomed into their ‘family’ and meet other ‘brothers and sisters’ (other friendly people on our table). This experience was billed as a cocktail experience with treats and escape room elements / riddles, and on most of these points the experience did not disappoint! We were given a fruity welcome drink and 2 other cocktails were also provided. I’m very pleased to report that these were full strength / full cup cocktails and not samples / watered down drinks. The cocktails were very enjoyable and my friend and I had fun guessing the components of each cocktail (this was not a mandatory task – we just did that for pure fun and curiosity).

Now to the ‘escape room’ elements of this experience – there were riddles to solve and some of them were challenging, however the setup of the event and the number of people (the room of people) undertaking the challenge at once made this portion rather chaotic, and it became obvious what the solutions were based on where people were gathered. I can’t complain too much as I’m sure my riddle solving becomes diminished after some drinks (haha!) but if this is a selling point for you then the experience falls a little short in this area. It also depends on how challenging you like your riddles / challenges to be – keeping in mind this experience can also be a family event at certain times of the day.

Sweets galore (this was just one section of the goodies!)

The treats portion of the event, well, the setup was like something out of Willy Wonka! It was great to delight in my inner child and go moderately wild and eat all kinds of sweets – we even had a doughnut each which was fresh and delicious. The only wish we had here is that they had given us cups / small bags to load our treats in. It was very easy for hands to become sticky and we were told not to be too greedy (so there were treats left for other groups) and I feel that attendees perhaps took less treats / were more strict on quantity due to that. It would have been much easier to police and enjoy if we each had a cup to fill. We were given time to wander around and ample time for photos, which we appreciated. The actors (and other guests) were happy to help with photos which was lovely too. Everyone at the (family friendly) session we went to were lovely, adding to the afternoon of treats we all shared. The family friendly nature of the event did not diminish the drinks on offer – it simply slightly altered the actors’ scripts.

The witch in her habitat, guarding the donut wall!

Another highlight was the witty banter with the actors – many laughs were had, especially with the witch. As for the witch, be assured that in the family friendly version she won’t be out to haunt anyone’s dreams – I have seen scarier witch Halloween decorations – however I do hear she has a great recipe for cooking children….handy for an alternative to meat free Monday / to ease those food budget blues in the current economic landscape! 😉

VERDICT: It depends on what you’re seeking with this adventure…seekers of cocktails and treats will rejoice, as will those seeking a fun escape from the mundane. Those keen on riddles may be left wanting more of a challenge, though personally after a few drinks I’m certainly not up for particularly challenging riddles! It’s a fun twist on a old story and makes for a sweet escape or an afternoon treat.

Tickets and further info can be found here.

Cocktail glasses soon to be filled with delicious drinks!

Review: An evening of “Magic and Alchemy”

On a gloomy evening, I ventured to the stately ‘Moonlight Manor’ (part of the Wyreena Community Arts Centre in Croydon) dressed in my Slytherin finery for an evening of “Magic and Alchemy”. Curious classes and interesting characters within a fun evening awaited all!

Upon arrival, the larger group of attendees were split into two smaller groups and let to separate classrooms. We then all met a very wise fairy queen and were led into Miss Mossy’s herbacious Herbology room. Miss Mossy is ever the gracious and knowledgeable host, offering us plenty of adult drinks (cocktails) with us (her students) learning some nature facts during our stay in her classroom. Miss Mossy had some fun games to play with her students and some other surprises which I very much enjoyed. I was genuinely sad when I had to leave her class – I would have happily spent all evening there.

Miss Mossy

After a brief pause, the groups switched rooms and we began our curious adventure into Divination class with Professor Weatherwax. This was hosted in the dimly lit potions room. We each sat at a desk with a cauldron in front of us, which felt very authentic! This portion of the evening featured different methods of divination, featuring tea leaves and other methods. Professor Weatherwax carefully explained that this sort of magic wasn’t stage magic or a showy presentation but the methods she was presenting were seriously conducted by people in the present day. This wasn’t said to dampen any spirits, rather, it was mentioned so that we could take extra care and thought as Divination is strongly open to both intuition and personal interpretation. Like in Herbology class, Professor Weatherwax also had a delicious cocktail to share with her students….which was heartily enjoyed by all.

Miss Mossy

I feel it’s important to mention here that the full enjoyment of this evening could be reached without being a Harry Potter fan. While the theming is reminiscent of Harry Potter themes / classrooms, out of the group / class I was in I was the only one dressed in Harry Potter house colours. No Harry Potter content was covered during the event, so no research or effort is required to attend an event like this one. Many of the attendees were with friends, however everyone was so welcoming that there are no issues if you attend an event like this alone. I attended alone and had a wonderful time meeting new people. I also loved the characters we meet during the evening. It really felt like I was a world away from my normal life as soon as I stepped into Moonlight Manor. The teachers felt very authentic and it was clear that they were enjoying the evening as much as we were.

Potions classroom

VERDICT: If you’re looking for a fun cocktail evening with some magical twists, then I highly recommend “Magic and Alchemy”. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you’ll truly feel transported into another world. Performers and characters are fun and engaging, an easily enjoyable evening of magic and merriment.

Myself with my pet (puppet) snake Lucius

“Magic and Alchemy” is just one of the public events run by Curious Events Co. Other public events run at the same venue include Paint and Sip evenings. Check out the website and socials for all the details.