A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca


05 December 2023
The Old Bauble Factory
4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Wishmas is the newest Secret Cinema experience in London, focussing on the magic of Christmas. It’s located in the old tunnels under Waterloo station. There are three different levels of tickets available, the standard experience, the full experience, and the meet&greet experience. I went for the full Wishmas experience, which includes a bauble making workshop.

Upon arrival, we were all greeted by the resident wishkeepers, whimsically explaining how Wishmas works. No wish is forgotten, they are all transported to Wishmas by robins, and delivered to Father Christmas himself.

After a lovely short show in the sorting room, we were led onto a train carriage, fully decked out with large screens for windows and beautifully decorated. The trains fly through the sky to deliver the wishes to Wishmas. But of course, there was a minor mishap that led to wishes dropping from the train, and us having to venture to the land to rescue the wishes and save Wishmas. This is where the truly immersive part came in.

There were three further rooms where everyone could jump in and help out, getting fully involved in the story. I don’t want to give too much away, but it is all very magical and fun. The show is definitely aimed more at children, really raising the Christmas spirits.

After the show, those of us who had booked the full experience were led into the bauble workshop. Here we were handed empty baubles and then left to our own devices. There were no instructions or comments from any of the attending elves, four of which stood by the entrance and mostly chatted amongst themselves. There weren’t even any instruction sheets on the table to explain what we were expected to do.

Along the perimeter of the room were brightly lit shelves with a few jars filled with decorations like pom poms, shredded paper, pine cones, little decorative berries, and a few ribbons. Unfortunately the jars were quite empty and without any instruction it felt a bit of a downer after such a charming show.

It wouldn’t take much to provide a little immersive instruction to make the bauble workshop actually fun, but the way it was structured when I attended, which was basically no structure at all, was disappointing. The little wish tags that we were apparently supposed to write our Wishmas wishes on weren’t brought out until half of the group had already finished their baubles. I’m not sure if this was because it was an evening time slot and people had run out of steam, but considering the tickets aren’t cheap, I had expected a bit more.

At the end of the experience there is a little Christmas market. Unfortunately this also wasn’t as good as I had hoped. It felt a bit eerie as it was completely deserted with just a few members of staff attending the stalls, but no guests to be seen anywhere as most people in my group had either already left, or just headed straight for the exit.

There is a little food shop, a merch stall, and a Fortnum&Masons pop-up, as well as plenty of festive decorations, the mood just wasn’t there without other guests milling around.

Still, the show itself is really cute and whimsical, an absolute treat for children in this festive time. With a little more effort and attention, the bauble workshop could have been fantastic too. Even with the addition of some introduction sheets on the tables to explain what to do with the baubles and fillings it would have been lovely. Hopefully I just caught an off session and others had better bauble making experiences.

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