Venue and ambiance On a chilly Saturday evening at 6:30 pm on the dot we arrived at the door of the Witches in Britches Theatre Restaurant. I was there to attend an invite to explore and experience the offerings of this renowned restaurant. The spooky witches' castle glowing fluorescent green at 84 Dudley Street, West Melbourne beckoned me with all its mysteries hidden behind its walls.
As I tentatively shook the door knocker on the wooden door of the tower, the door abruptly opened and I was welcomed by a loud, spine-tingling cackle of a warlock which had the intended effect and my heart skipped a beat. Making my way through the dark tunnel of terror further tested my courage as more witches and warlocks jumped on me to deliver more hair raising experiences. As my dinner companion humorously put it "they scared the britches off me".
The venue had the feel of a spooky place with sinister looking statues dotted all over the place. Staff dressed as witches and warlocks lent an eerie feeling to the overall experience. Shauna at the counter explained that we could choose to order our drinks from the bar with cash or give a copy of a credit card to them to take advantage of table service which did not incur any extra fee. Shauna elaborated that taking copies of credit cards ensured that people didn't leave the venue without paying for their drinks. We found the table service most helpful since we could order from the comfort of our table and then paid the bill before we left.
Spooky members of the establishment (Joya)
Dinner and drinks After a brief wait at the lobby we were invited inside the dining venue and ushered to our allocated tables. We were treated to our 3 course meal before the show started. For entrée, we were served pumpkin soup by a witch out of a big cauldron. The soup went down well with the rather thick bread. There were 4 options for mains: meat, fish, lamb or veggie risotto. I opted for baked fish with chips and veggies. The fish fillet was quite nice and the veggie and chips complemented it agreeably.
Clockwise left to right: Desserts, beef steak and fish
My companion heartily enjoyed his succulent and tender beef steak accompanied by roast potatoes. Our desserts followed soon afterwards. We were presented with chocolate mousse with toffee and sticky date pudding drizzled with condensed milk. Both desserts were scrumptious and were successful in wooing my tastebuds. I found the amount of food just right – not too heavy and not too light.
Left to right: Poison Punch, Beetle Juice and pumpkin soup (Joya)
A good night out cannot be complete without cocktails. I sampled 2 cocktails from the modest drinks menu. I found the Beetle Juice potent and the Poison Punch yum. The cocktails are priced at $14 while syringe jelly shots cost $12. A coke jug costs $12.
The Show - Vanity Lair As the food and drinks lulled me into a surreal state of gratification, the show 'Vanity Lair' commenced at 8:30pm. This show tells the tale of 3 witches who have run out of youth potion and calls upon a genie to help them acquire the fountain of youth. Their quest in procuring the fountain of youth leads to time travelling as they visit different eras, historic and prehistoric periods. Cue parodies of old and modern pop songs and hilarious impressions of famous celebrities. Think Spice Girls to Iggy Azalea and Elton John to Mick Jagger. The cast were simply superb with their flamboyant costumes and vivacious demeanours. They put in a real effort to ensure audience participation which drew more laughters and giggles. Birthday boys and girls and people celebrating special occasions also got special mention.
We found the skits thoroughly enjoyable. Witty dialogues and comical parodies of popular songs with an adult theme evoked chuckles, giggles and some 'LOL' moments. The 5 performers were brilliant. The character named 'Scumbag' who made a varied number of appearances was the heart of the show and enthralled us with humorous dialogues and good acting complemented by his excellent makeup and costumes.
Ticket prices and packages Gurshyn was our witch wait staff for the evening. With a big smile and sweet disposition she explained that Vanity Lair had a R18 rating. However children can enjoy kid's shows which are run during school holidays. There is also a burlesque show named 'Witch Hunt' where witches peel off their britches. During the shows a professional photographer takes photos which can be purchased for $18.
From January to October, Sunday to Friday night shows are priced at $75 and Saturday night shows are priced at $85. Further, if you buy 12 tickets at $85 per person the 13th ticket will be free of charge. Prices change slightly from November to December when Sunday to Thursday night shows are priced at $75 while Friday and Saturday night shows cost $85. There are no discounts or free ticket offers in the months of November and December. All tickets include entry, walk through the tunnel of terror, 3 course meal, live show and dungeon disco. The tickets don't include drinks. Bookings are essential.
There are special packages such as Hens Night Packages, Bucks Night Packages and Birthday Packages. If you have any food allergies, do notify them at the time of the booking. You can discover more information by going to their website or by visiting their Facebook.
Spooky ambiance, tasty bistro meal, hilarious show, impressive costumes and cheerful staff made for an exquisite theatre restaurant experience and scored Witches in Britches Restaurant a respectable 4 out of 5. I can see why this restaurant has been a crowd-puller for the last 26 years and received the Certificate of Excellence from the TripAdvisor in 2014.
In the end, we went home with a warm glow in our hearts and a spring in our steps.