The first thing that struck us was that there was a waiver to sign and safeword to remember – we might be wrong but think this is the first time we’ve been given one of these!
We were soon led into the screening room where a swift introductory video played and very shortly after that, we were thrust into the main event with a Christmas hat over our heads. The entirety of the maze was hooded with the hat being briefly removed at pivotal points to reveal disturbing imagery (we saw one toy reject, a man strung up like a Christmas tree for example).
Unlike other hooded attractions that we’ve been through, ‘No Strings Attached’ really used the hood to its advantage. You brushed past people and objects, were pushed around and had characters constantly speaking to you. They really played with your inability to see what was going on!
We found the event to be reminiscent of ‘House of the Dead’ (review here) in that it was very theatrical and had scenes that required your participation. The execution here though was much more successful. The theme and level of interaction required (we had to sing on more than one occasion!) made for a richer experience.
The actors were fantastic. The main actor was brilliantly caustic; throughout the experience we weren’t sure whether he was friend or foe. Considering that the event leaned heavily on theatrics, the performances were crucial and the cast were definitely up to the task.
Leading on from that; the level of interaction was great. We were pushed around quite a bit and the cast were always engaging with us whilst the hoods were on – there weren’t any quiet moments! We prefer attractions that push the levels of immersion and we were thrown into the thick of it here!
And we enjoyed the ending; there was a nice little fake-out that had us wondering what was going to happen next!
The one thing that we picked up on was that the atmosphere could have been improved upon slightly. The visuals that we experienced were perfect but inbetween that, we think a bit more of an atmospheric soundtrack wouldn’t go amiss. Just to give a better sense of place as this was somewhat lacking whenever we had the hood on (though the actors did an ace job at masking this).
It’s no secret that we’ve had problems with their previous two events but we could always see that Hide and Shriek had potential if they managed to iron out the creases and ‘No Strings Attached’ really demonstrates that. For the experience that you get, it’s priced at the right level and offers something unique to what they’ve done before. Based on this, keep a close eye on them in 2017!
Rating: **** (Out of 5) – Recommend
Ticket Price: £6.50
Address: 344-347 Chartwell Square, Victoria Plaza, Southend-on-sea, Essex, SS2 5SP