WAVERLEY: I did something I had never done before—I was an actor in a murder mystery dinner theatre.
On Sept. 30, Party Patrol Events Company, owned and operated by the wonderful Shera-Lee Kerr of Fall River, put on Murder at the Resort, hosted at the Waverley Legion. I was one of the six characters in the dinner theatre—and only myself and David Muise knew one another before the play.
The six characters were myself as Brad Fortune, the activities director; Deanna Whalen (as Fortune’s dance instruction partner Diane Baker, who bends over backwards for everyone); Muise (Peter Mitchell, the owner of Camp Holly Hills); Amanda Willmore (Dr. Judy Mitchell); Tim Houlihan (George MacKenzie, who is afflicted with the disease known as ARS); and Leona MacDougall (Lucy Brown MacKenzie).
However, after the three days of rehearsals, and the performance itself, we all bonded like lost long friends and were comfortable with one another. I don’t think there could of been a better group to have my dinner theatre debut with—we all kind of had the same mindset when it came to the play-on words, with sexual connotations.
So it’s show night. We all meet and make some final tweaks to what we will do for the performance. And of course we get the keepsake team photo. We all head upstairs to the dressing room we’re in before getting the thumbs up to make our way down.
It’s Brad and the lovely Diane who go out first to talk to the close to 75 patrons, seated at their respective tables about what Camp Holly Hills offers. From dancing instruction, which includes Brad and Diane going to your own home; to activities such as hiking, biking, and volleyball.
Me and Diane walk around the room, going to each table and telling them about what we offer. I do most of the talking (and try not to notice) that Diane is taking things from each table. Some of the patrons notice, and move their valuables like their smart-phones out of Diane’s reach. Some even caller her on the stealing, which we both deny.
Then it’s show time! We each take our designated seats, and Muise begins with the introductions. When he gets to me I get up, and explain what I do before being rudely cutoff by him. He thanked me for that. I was not impressed, and roll my eyes and stomp off back to my chair.
My part doesn’t really begin until a short time into the play—about 20 minutes—when the lovely Diane, who is my whole heart although secretly, is killed off suddenly. Investigator Doc McCoy, played by Sandy Hatfield, interrogates Peter, before calling me up and asking me about my interest in Diane; whether we were more than colleagues. And asking me about the volleyball tournament and how long I worked at Camp Holly Hills. He also asked where I worked before. I worked at Spedex, a parcel delivery company where business “picked up and dropped off.”
Doc goes into rapid fire questioning of me, trying to break me about being so madly in love with Diane that I didn’t see her stealing as we walked around the room. He finally gets his answer with one of the best parts for me in the performance.
“The only thing Diane ever stole from me was my heart,” I said loudly, to a chorus of awe’s from the crowd. (Thanks for that).
A short time later, I went yelling across the room needing to speak to Mr. MacKenzie urgently. I grab him by the arm, and despite George trying to eat his supper I pull him out of the room.
After a short explanation of events to that point, I enter in a state of hysteria, yelling as blood covers my shirt and holding the knife I had just pulled out.
At this point Doc comes in and checks my pulse, as the other cast members come in screaming and in tears of upset at my death.
But that wasn’t the end of the show. It continued. But to find out the outcome and whodunit, you will have to attend one of the local performances to see for yourself.
While my part wasn’t that large, it was a lot of fun.
As we all packed up, after sitting down with one another in the Legion there was a very sad feeling for us all that just like that it was all over.
I know one thing, I hope to do another dinner theatre down the road.
(As it would turn out myself and Amanda were asked to come to do the two shows at Knox United Church on Oct. 11-12. So I did get that opportunity to do another dinner theatre. I duplicated my role as Brad, while Amanda was Lucy Brown MacKenzie. We both had a blast and the crowd was great on both nights, especially the second night.)