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REVIEW: Interesting Brews in Alice, the Immersive Experience (Stilheart)

The basement of the Stilheart Distillery & Cocktail Lounge in Minneapolis has been transformed into an Alice in Wonderland-inspired space for The Alice: An Immersive Cocktail Experience. Photo by Boo Segersin.

Do you enjoy Alice in Wonderland and the many creations inspired by it? Do you love whimsey and silliness? Are you a fan of cocktails? If the answer to all three is “yes”, then The Alice: An Immersive Cocktail Experience is probably exactly your style! Set in Wonderland, this adventure unfolds at the Stilheart Distillery & Cocktail Lounge in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. During the course of the 90-minute adventure, you meet familiar characters, solve puzzles, and make (and drink) cocktails.

Stilheart has partnered with Hidden to transform their basement into this immersive environment. Hidden is a company that partners with local venues and artists to put on unique events all around the world. (Other Hidden experiences include The Dancing Queen: Dining Experience, Mission Impossible: Escape Room, and a variety of drag brunches.) Mixing elements of theatre and an immersive setting, this event is both quite unique and very fun.

A set of delightfully mismatched teacups will excite the young and young-at-heart when choosing their drinking ware. Photo by Boo Segersin.

How fun and whimsical? When we arrived our tickets and IDs were checked by the Mad Hatter. Next, the March Hare showed us to our seats; shortly after, the White Rabbit brought us our first boozy beverage, a Dreamsicle shooter (whipped cream optional). Around us, every corner of the room was decorated to fit the theme. Different colorful rugs covered the floor, giant mushrooms towered in the corner, and flowers and lights hung from the ceiling. Each place setting also featured a unique tea pot and mismatched tea cups.

Once everyone was seated, the show proper began. We did not stay seated, but rather were given riddles to solve, which required us to move about the room. Completing these tasks got our ingredients for a special cocktail that had magical smoke and tasted great. Soon we met the Queen of Hearts and the Judge, played by the same actors who were previously the Mad Hatter and the March Hare.

What I most enjoyed about this experience is that, while it is nearly the definition of immersive theatre, it is advertised in such a way that the audience is not necessarily your typical immersive theatre audience. It is the perfect first step into more immersive or experimental theatre experiences. The stakes are low, the alcohol keeps the mood light, and the subject matter is familiar and comfortable. However, audience participation is required, so I suggest having at least one extrovert per group.

One of the visual features of the immersive event are the small visual and textual references to the Alice in Wonderland stories scattered throughout. Photo by Boo Segersin.

The Alice: An Immersive Cocktail Experience runs at Stilheart Distillery & Cocktail Lounge in Minneapolis through October 20. Ticket prices range from $35-$49.82. The event is generally 21+, although there are family-friendly sessions in which no alcohol is served. Vaccinations, negative COVID-19 tests, or masks are not required to attend this event.

Boo Segersin