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.
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.
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.