Who Wants To Murder A Millionaire?
Say your company wants to reward its employees for a job well done, or your aunt has a birthday coming up. Who do you call? Well, Marne Interactive Productions has just the ticket—dinner and a murder mystery at the refurbished and still haunted bed and breakfast, the Lumber Baron Inn.
Taking my chances perilously close to Halloween, I braved the windblown dead leaves, looming branches, and foreboding shadows, and walked through the gates of the old mansion on the corner of 37th and Bryant. After a deep breath to steady myself, I mounted the steps and walked across the porch into the stately foyer.
The drawing room and once formal dining room were already filled with folks having drinks. I couldn't see through them, so I figured it was okay to proceed. In amongst the crowd, though, I noticed a few oddballs. It was their get-up that suggested they weren't to be trusted.
First there was the stunning Ms. Finch (Katharyn Grant), in a stylish dress, gloves, hat, and veil out of the late '40's. From her I learned that I was actually making a condolence call for the senior Mr. Meene, who had recently met a foul end. Ms. Finch had me wondering whether she was seeking my sympathy for her loss, or my vote for her innocence in the grim affair. A gold digger if there ever was one, I think, as I wander off in search of the bar.
|Mark Corrigan as|
Professor Prune and
Katharyn Grant as Ms. Finch
Thankfully, I got there before I ran into Colonel Dippensaus (Dan Braatz), who, topped off by a pith helmet adorned with a flower, was in a tizzy over the recent events. As the wine took effect, I began to find my rhythm, and claimed I had been a confidant of the deceased. Dippensaus parried with me for a while—on my fantasy of complicity in Senior's murder—until I had thoroughly blurred the distinction between actor and audience, and then it was he that needed a drink.
But before I could trade chops with the rest of the suspicious characters, it was time to head up the grand staircase toward the fourth floor ballroom and refresh my drink. On my way there, I noticed a series of photographs documenting the reconstruction and remodeling of this grand house, so I was prepared for the impressive vaulted ceiling we found at our destination.
As folks milled around, attempting to find their seats, the rest of the suspects and their alibis flew fast and furious. First and foremost there was Junior (Nick Guida), a spoiled heir if there ever was one, with none of the old man's savvy. Junior, it seems, has racked up some major debts and is in need of a cash infusion.
Then there's Professor Prune (Mark Corrigan), one of the leading chemists at Meene's International Chemical Plant, who would like nothing better than to have the company-controlled patent on his discovery of Super-pollen revert to him.
Miss Off-White (Maria Garcia) is no babe in the woods either. Having served as Senior's secretary and all that goes with such a job, she's expecting a healthy pay-out in the will.
But no sooner have we have learned everyone's motive than the lights go off and shrieks are heard. When power is restored, one of the suspects is dead. Obviously, the audience needs to get involved if this mess is ever going to get straightened out. We are encouraged to mill about and look for clues, which seem to be abundant, if not contradictory.
Once a variety of motives have been established, and even the maître d' and the bartender have fallen under suspicion, it's time to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries of the attendees. Then, after each suspect has been given the floor to attempt to dissuade us of their guilt, it's time for a conga dance. Having lucked out at finding myself ensconced between two lovely ladies, I thoroughly enjoyed the gyrations.
Just when it appeared that anarchy had permanently established itself, the inspector arrives and begins to interview the witnesses and suspects. Not since JFK's assassination have their been so many contemporaneously angry constituencies with a stake in seeing someone bumped off. Perhaps this was a group effort?
Now, we the audience have become the jury, and our vote will determine who will hang for this. It's hard to decide who's guilty (they all have strong motives, and they're all so obviously disreputable), but I know who'd I'd like to see beg for mercy.
Who Wants To Murder A Millionaire runs in repertory with 'Till Death Do Us Part, Mystery On Tequila Train, Death for Dinner, and Who Killed Buffalo Bill? For further information, call Marne Interactive Productions at 303-462-3381 or visit their website at www.DeathForDinner.com.