Not even the rain was going to stop me and my two kids from attending our first official Fringe event for the year. The first challenge with the interactive scavenger hunt of Escape from Wonderland was actually finding the starting location. There were no clear instructions on the Fringe website or ticket and this was the most challenging part of the day. The first clue from me,  if you choose to attend – head towards the Pavilion function centre to find the starting location.

Once we did locate the starting point, we were greeted by colourful and expressive characters from Alice in Wonderland – the Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland (in drag), the Red Queen, the White Rabbit among others. It made me realise I had failed as a parent when my kids had no idea who these characters were, and promises of watching the movie as a priority.

Once we had passed in our tickets to Alice, we were given a map and a guide book (which you placed your smart phone within) with instructions on a website to check in. The website was easy to use and navigate. While waiting for the start, we could challenge the Red Queen to a game of ‘hedgehog’ croquet using flamingo mallets, and this was a fun introduction to the craziness to come.

After a brief introductory and amusing act to set the scene, the challenge was set and the fun began. For the next 60 minutes we were to use the clues provided on our phones; find the keys hidden around Veale Gardens and return within the hour. The trick – was not to be seen by the Queen or her guards or you would get points deducted and possibly the threat of ‘off with your heads’!

I will not go into detail about the actual scavenger hunt as I do not want to spoil the challenge. My learning and advice – definitely come appropriately attired, ready to run and not wear Havianas as I did. The clues and map provide a challenge but not to the point of exasperation. The characters wander the gardens providing interaction while completing your challenges – occasionally giving clues and other times chasing you in order to deduct points! My favourite was the Caterpillar and the actors really stayed in character the whole time making it so much more fun and believable.

I would highly recommend this, whether you have done any interactive gaming type hunt like this before or not. Come with a group, or even multiple groups to increase the competitiveness. I probably wouldn’t recommend this for families with young children as there is a lot of running around and clues to decipher which may cause them to lose interest.

My kids are aged 9 and 11 and loved every minute of the hunt, running around and trying to avoid being caught. I felt it was a great way to explore one of Adelaide’s beautifully kept gardens that might otherwise be overlooked for the more well-known Botanic Gardens.

If you are after something different, with a competitive edge and enjoy a challenge as well as a laugh – then try to Escape from Wonderland.

Five Stars

Review by Ilona Schultz

For more info and tickets to Escape From Wonderland head to https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/escape-from-wonderland-af2018