Murder Mystery Games - Written with my lovely wife Alison (see notes below on how to run these games)
Murder Mystery Evenings are, arguably, a new form of theatre. With a traditional play script all the lines spoken (gaffes apart) are scripted, so each actor knows his or her cue lines and what to say next. With a murder game your audience is encouraged to ask questions, many of which you can't possibly anticipate, so - rather than spending hours learning lines, your actors probably have around 20 lines each, but they need to know the story very well so as to be able to give reliable answers, and they need to stay in character at all times, for example, when they meet an audience member in the bathroom!
I am very enthusiastic about these evenings, and will freely offer advice and experience to anyone who wants to run one, by email or by phone. We launched a small company a few months ago to perform these events - more details on these scripts will follow, but meanwhile see www.dying4dinner.co.uk
Murder Mystery Parties are a great way to expand the catchment of your theatre. Very many hotels and restaurants will engage you to put on the events at their premises so that you don't need to worry about catering, venue or even ticket sales. When the diners see what fun you have they'll see your theatre company advert on your documentation and you could attract new members to the theatre or even to join your group. What's more you get paid for doing it. It's a good way to fund-raise for your theatre instead of the tired old stand-by Cheese and Wine evenings and Jumble Sales.
How to run one of my Murder Mystery Events
A lot of murder mystery game companies, even the big boys, don't use a script - the entire thing is ad-libbed from their working knowledge of the back story. They tend to spend all evening among the diners and therefore suffer from noise, to the extent not everyone can hear all the "evidence" as it's presented. Frequently the "reval" (what was supposed to have actually happened) is read out by a figure of authority from among the cast.
We don't do it that way!Our events are designed to interleave with a meal of a few courses. We have found buffet meals do not work because people can get up for refills whenever they want and that leads to noise and people missing things. Repeating the dialogue makes it rather artificial. We have four or five scripted "set pieces" which should be learned by the cast beforehand until they are fluent. They also need detailed knoledge of the back story so they can answer questions (many of which are impossble to anticipate) from the diners. After one scene is acted out we let the diners eat in peace, returning when they'd finished eating for interrogation. When all the scene have been presented, we give them a stated time perio - say 10 or 15 minutes - during which all suspects visit all tables for final questioning. At the end of this period the questionnaires are handed out, on which they must decide on who is/are the guilty, why and how they committed the murder(s). We also include a tie-breaker on the form in case more than one teams gets an equivalent amount correct. Once the questionnaores have been collected we can select a winner. Before these are announced, we act out the scripted "reveal" so everyone knows what actually happened.
I supply most of the things you'll need, emailed to you on your purchase. This includes:-