CHLOE MASHITER: ‘The event was a lot like an episode of the Crystal Maze – undeniably enjoyable and entertaining, but somewhat frustrating when a couple of seemingly simple tasks weren’t successfully completed.’
Something to confirm straightaway: I didn’t meet Richard O’Brien last night. Or The Other One – unless they were being inexplicably secretive, neither was at the Wolfson June Event, despite it being rumoured that one would be present to complement the Crystal Maze theme. The rather dapper guy a few places behind me in the queue dressed up as O’Brien (bald cap, crystal-topped cane and all) was a fleeting substitute; but this was a somewhat typical sensation of the potentially fantastic theme not really being exploited.
Wolfson had been split into the zones of the show – Aztec, Medieval, Oceanic and Futuristic/Industrial. Whilst the latter two were loosely realized (with rippling blue lights, drinks and seafood in the Oceanic zone and more modern attractions like zorb balls and dodgems in Futuristic/Industrial) I did struggle to see what made Aztec and Medieval very… well, Aztec and Medieval. Granted it was a June Event – and a cheap one at that – but something simple and striking, like banners matching the colour coding of the zones, would have worked well.
However, the theme did also suggest the very welcome combo of fun and a lack of pretention (I’m looking at you, Latin-themed St John’s). And it definitely lived up to these expectations, whether it was enjoying running in an unavoidably camp manner in the zorb balls or being treated to a Wolfson Howler during the night. Whilst the comedy wasn’t well received by all, I felt that Ed Gamble’s infectious, bounding energy was perfect for a very early-morning show and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The food was without doubt the best I’ve had all week – plentiful, varied and virtually queue-less, meaning I could eat Yubba Yubba doughnuts to my heart’s content. The highlight was definitely the fantastic (and fortunately gigantic) sushi platters served at midnight, adding a dash of decadance to the event. The drink was different story; I, having hit my limit on Pimm’s and champagne earlier in the week, wasn’t out to drink much and a good thing too – the one free bar had a very limited selection of booze, some of which ran out midway throughout the event.
It was just a shame that there were some significant flaws in the organization: only two stations struggling to keep up with a growing queue and a difficult ticketing system; the Howler starting twenty minutes late; the fact that very few ents continued post-Howler, despite there being a good two hours till the survivors’ photo. Ultimately I suppose it’s quite fitting that the event was a lot like an episode of the Crystal Maze – undeniably enjoyable and entertaining, but somewhat frustrating when a couple of seemingly simple tasks weren’t successfully completed.
Food and Drink:
Value for Money:
Star Attraction: The never ending, brilliant food
Biggest Turn Off: The failure to do justice to the promising theme