OGDEN — I’ve always been a little cautious of dinner theatre and didn’t know quite what to expect. Granted, I knew I wasn’t going to be snacking on a lamb shank while A Midsummer Night’s Dream played on a stage in front. What’s more is this promised to be a murder-mystery-musical dinner theatre performance. Simply put, I was more than pleasantly surprised by my night with Hunt Mysteries and I’m pretty sure you will be too.
Hunt Mysteries partners with several restaurants and venues across the valley (and beyond) to provide a nice sit-down meal with their show. So, my guest and I were seated at a table with another party of two. None of us had been to a Hunt show so we were all a little unfamiliar with how the night would go.
Turns out that the written script only fulfills about a third of the night’s performance. At 7 o’clock the actors filtered into the banquet room and slowly began to visit each table to introduce themselves (as their character) and get to know us. Immediately we were thrust into the roles of stockholders for Atlas Inc.—the invented company hosting the night’s dinner. A murder was going to happen later in the evening so we knew that we needed to find out all we could about the characters before it actually happened.
Admittedly, I was a little nervous about being put on the spot to converse with these characters. The first character to shake my hand was Col…I mean Captain Dijon (Jeremy Johnson). He was quite affable and made us feel a little more keen to the idea of getting involved in the game. Next came Professor Prune (Chris Kucera) who played a marvelous drunkard who suddenly became sober real quick when the murderous explanations were…explained later in the night. He was a lot of fun though. We asked him plenty of questions on his backstory and sure enough he had it down.
After the brief meet and greet, dinner was served and we were lucky enough to have two of the actors seated at our table. That was a delight as Rose Red (Heidi Potter) and Miss Blanc (Mary Brassard) garnished our dinner with pleasant conversation on whether or not our host Mr. Lively (Chris “Madman” Madriaga) should love a scarlet floozy or a sweet and pure work colleague—they apparently didn’t think the ex-wife Mrs. Peahen (Tonia Sayer) offered too much competition. Throw Mr. Greene (Shea Potter) into the mix with his fruity non sequiturs and I wasn’t sure who to follow in order to anticipate the prime suspects.
After dinner, someone died. No need to expand on that. Everyone knew it was coming.
The audience was encouraged to leave their tables and question characters in order to figure out who the murderer was. Our table stayed put but thanks to some sample interrogation questions left at the table we had a good idea of what happened. Sadly, I didn’t trust the most likely answer and instead accused an innocent character that completely lacked any motive. Yeah, that didn’t play out too well. Just remember, you really can figure out the murder. Hunt Mysteries isn’t out to trick you with a surprise ending. And I like that! We can trust their story and if you pay attention you’re bound to be playing the role of Sherlock Holmes and being eligible for a prize at the end of the show.
This is not Shaw, Moliere, or Agatha Christie. It’s not meant to be. Hunt Mysteries promises and delivers an enjoyable night at the theater. That’s exactly what it was. I completely trusted the world these actors presented to me. It was delightful when they broke out into a slightly tweaked version of “Money, Money, Money” from Mamma Mia! or “Love You I Do” from Dreamgirls. The music was hopping and I couldn’t help but smile and just enjoy being there. It was a party and I was invited. That sounds a little odd, but it’s true. My heart tells me I don’t like cheesy theatre, and this was not cheesy theatre. It was fun theatre (and the food was good too! The next time I’m in Ogden I’m definitely checking out their full menu).
Get a Clue: The $tocks Caper plays Saturday, March 13th at 6:30 PM in Boccia’s Pizza Bistro located at 1045 North Washington Blvd. in Ogden. Tickets are $34.95 and can be purchased by calling 801-569-1482 or HuntMysteries.com.