As I enter Wake the Tiger for their winter event Meridian Moonfrost it is clear I’ve made a major error. The dress code was ‘Ice and Frost’, apt for a party that celebrates the nights drawing in and the cold seeping into our world. For some reason, I totally ignored this suggested dress code and came wearing an orange shirt, and thus stuck out like a warm thumb in a frostbitten hand. The level of audience dressing up speaks volumes for the engagement fostered by Wake the Tiger – the party is made by the attendees as much as is it made for them. Everywhere you look, there are people in puffa jackets and fur hats, blue glittery lips and ice crowns.
The dressing up is not just left to the revellers though. Within the party are ‘actors’ luring us into games – group singing, charades, limbo dancing. Playing these give you the clues to a final secret code that can unlock magical moonbeams. Unfortunately our attempt fails and we are knocked back by the gatekeeper, urged to try once again. Alas, there are only so many times I can watch my fellow Meridian attempt to portray a snowflake in charades.
We leave the main foyer and duck into the Wake the Tiger amazement park experience – a series of rooms offering beguiling interactive play. Giant mushrooms illuminate as you touch them, tiny civilisations appear within the cave-like walls and mermaids spin around in watery tumble dryers filled with plastic detritus. Slip through one door and you might come out in a bookcase in a study. Walk into a glass prism and you are surrounded by a boggling world of mirrors. Time is warped and dimensions deceive you in a space that rewards silliness and the simple temptation to poke things to see what happens.
Back in the main party space of The Guildhall, Mad Apple Circus have taken over the stage for a belting ska-hip hop set, joining the likes of the Kitten Club and Ruffneck Ting in keeping the vibes high and feet moving. Meanwhile, in the second room, acrobats are lifted spinning into the sky before the sounds of The Prodigy launches dancers into a frenzy. The beats are banging, perhaps incongruously compared the to psychedelic, trippy nature of the Wake the Tiger environs. It makes you wonder what a chill-out expert like Mixmaster Morris could do with the space, working with the magic of this invented world. Nevertheless, this is a spectacular place for a party, combining performance with an engaging setting to create a truly memorable night.