Escapism has been hitting Vancouverites hard this year. Between rain extending into the summer and airline tickets rising higher than the moon, local immersive events could be the answer for someone looking to stay local while experiencing something totally new. To that end, Viral Ventures is back with The Wizard's Den: Semester 2, which takes the theme of magic and potion-brewing and combines it with every millennial's favourite past-time: alcohol. This is an event for fans of the genre and today's post will break down the itinerary and immersion of this event which runs all summer long.
Disclosure: I was provided a media ticket to provide coverage on this event. All opinions are my own.
While the ticket gets you 90 minutes total, the actual timing of stuff happening is a little over an hour, giving guests time to explore the space and finish their drinks in piece – 3 drinks in 90 minutes intermixed with witches screaming incantations at each other can fill up time fast!
We began the evening seated at a table with a small cauldron and a "not-butterbeer" drink which was a butterscotch-tinged alcoholic drink.
The evening events began hitting fast and hard. We were introduced to our witches welcoming us back to another term of potionmaking and the Great Lady Morticia whose portrait hung prominently in the room.
We began our first task to brew a Truth Serum. Our instructions took us outside the room to the Potion Putt area which was just as well-decorated as our potions classroom. By following the clues, we could locate baskets around the Potion Putt area containing our vials which we submitted to the witches for validation and with which they would give us our "real" potion ingredients (read: booze).
Dry ice was the name of the game for our first potion. This gave the concoction a truly spooky vibe and produced a pretty punchy drink with what tasted like rum.
The second phase of our evening involved a little roleplaying by the witches accusing each other of being a mole in an operation to bring back Lady Morticia from the dead. This resulted in the classroom group being split up for another potion-brewing task to create a poison potion to serve to the true infiltrating witch. This task was much the same as the first but with different locations for the ingredients.
Finally, all things went to hell as the mole was uncovered and it was the audience who was given the choice of who to feed the poison to. Our group opted to give the good witch the poison but PLOT TWIST – Lady Morticia's plan was to reanimate herself into the body of the fallen witch and take over the potions class. This literally means there are 2 storylines you could potentially run into during your Wizard's Den session!
The evening concluded with Lady Morticia sanitizing the poison potion and offering it to everyone. We proceeded to drink to Lady Morticia's health in the form of sparkly Prosecco and began hobbling home.
The immersion of these types of events make or break the entire experience and I'm glad to say The Wizard's Den delivers on making you feel like you're in a totally different universe. The actors are amazing at not breaking character. If you must be up to no good, you can maybe convince a couple to break accent – some witches are Canadians, eh.
The rest of the immersion lies in how the place is decorated. Just like my experiences with Neverland and The Alice, I found the decor to be impeccable. These aren't trinkets from 18th century Scotland, but the style is in line with what I'm looking for in a magical wizardry vibe. Old grandfather clocks and worn sofa chairs populate the area in tandem with crooked bookshelves and ornate lampshades. Combined with the total mood lighting means you're in for an immersive experience in both sight and sound.
And if you remember my main complaint from last year's Wizard's Den production, yes they finally got a light-up wand!
If you've made it this far, you probably don't need much more convincing that The Wizard's Den is up your alley. For those on the fence, this event is certainly worth a one-time try if you have even a little escapism in your blood. On the spectrum of in-person entertainment, I think The Wizard's Den fits in the bubble of comedy show meets your weird high school friend's 2022 costume party. You'll feel cringe, you'll drop your mouth at the outlandish script, but if you can muster even one laugh or smile at the end of the night, that's really the goals of both you and the event organizers being met, and that's a good time in my book.
Tickets can be puchased at https://explorehidden.com/event/details/the-wizards-den-semester-ii-vancouver-1551476.
One-liner: Outspoken Harry Potter vibes in an immersive magical experience of cocktail brewing that are not at all affiliated with Harry Potter
Highlight: Sipping my not-butterbeer
Price per person: $42.40
Would I go back? Yes.