On February 15th, there was a murder.
It took place in Downtown Portland, at the Old Spaghetti Factory where my husband and I went to dine, with friends. We were called upon to help solve the crime, and so were our friends. One of them was even implicated as a suspect! We had a blast! Mystery dinner theater is so much fun!
If you have never been, you should give it a try. Most major cities, and many not so major ones, have dinner theater troupes. Just look up “mystery dinner theater near me” on the internet to find your nearest options. Ticket prices may seem high, until you consider that you are getting dinner and a night of entertainment all rolled into one.
The experience varies a little by theater company, but some things are the same. Your ticket usually gets you dinner and dessert, as well an interactive mystery performance.
Beyond that, things start to differ. Some shows are set in the here and now. Others have a theme and you can dress up if you like. The one we attended, put on by The Murder Mystery Company, was set in the 1920’s, and the majority of the diners were dressed in some semblance of 1920’s dress. In some troupes, the performers are hidden amongst the other diners, in others a handful of clearly labeled actors help set the tone. Either way, the paying diners are lead through the murder mystery to solve the questions of who committed the murder and why. Who knows, it could even be you! Some troupes give prizes and/or certificates to the diners for solving the crime and/or for their performance and participation in the mystery theater.
Things to know:
- Usually tickets must be purchased in advance, before the night of the show. Most shows sell out, so don’t wait too long to purchase tickets, or you may miss the show.
- Some shows have a minimum age, so if you would like to take minors, make sure to check the minimum age, before purchasing tickets.
- While your ticket gets you a 3-4 course dinner (exact number depends on the troupe), drinks are usually extra.
- You usually get to choose between 3-4 entrees, and most troupes allow special requests for those with special dietary needs, but they need to be made in advance, when ordering tickets.
- Some troupes prepay tips to the servers and/or the actors (two distinct, different sets of workers). Check web sites to see if you will be encouraged to pay one, the other, or both gratuities, so you are not caught unawares.
- Most have a bar available, but you will have to pay for your drinks. The bar is often cash only.
- Most locations have an ATM on site, but not all. Check in advance, so you can plan accordingly.
- Some theater companies have different levels of tickets, others have add-on packages, so read the web material provided before picking which tickets/add-ons are right for you.
- Plan on being at the venue for about 3 hours.
Why not treat yourself, loved ones, and/or friends. We had a blast with great food and wonderfully engaging entertainment. We are sure you will too. Find all your fellow mystery lovers and see if you can crack the case as we did; even tell us about your experience. You can post your story below, let us know on facebook, or use the hashtag #MoreBees to share your night or murder and mystery.