Murder mystery dinner theatre at Marshlands Inn.
Live Bait Theatre hosted a themed fundraiser last week in a festive fusion of dramatic arts and the Halloween season. The dinner theatre, entitled “Emma Tower’s Halloween Variety Show Murder Mystery,” took place Oct. 24 and 25, inviting the community to an evening of clever playwriting and a delicious meal prepared by Sackville’s own Marshlands Inn on Bridge Street.
The dimly-lit atmosphere of the restaurant served as a perfectly appropriate setting for such an occasion, and invited the audience to play along and immerse themselves as characters in the story. The production itself was written and directed by Ron Kelly-Spurles, a member of Live Bait’s board of directors, and the erstwhile Tourism Manager for the Town of Sackville. Starring as Detective Thomas Foelery alongside a cast of community members, including Mount Allison’s own Patricia Kelly-Spurles of the anthropology department, the production proceeded with the comical mystery of Emma Tower’s untimely murder. With each character possessing a different motive for the crime, the audience was invited to guess the identity of the murderer during a short dessert break.
The perfect blend of mysterious and humorous, the play was also cleverly self-aware and often drew attention to itself as a literary construction, demonstrating Ron Kelly-Spurles’s playwriting skills and ability to entertain on a number of levels. For example, while the character Emma Tower initially denied the possibility of any murder mystery during the evening’s events, she ironically became a victim of this very crime.
Among the many highlights of the evening, Catherine Priemer delivered a spellbinding performance of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Telltale Heart” in accordance with the Halloween and murder mystery themes. The performance additionally provided a clue for the audience, as Priemer’s character Janice was revealed as the perpetrator of the evening’s fictional crime. Priemer, who is a student at Tantramar Regional High School, has been heavily involved in the Sackville community’s drama and music scene, including the New Brunswick Provincial Music Festival held in Sackville in May 2013 and the production of the musical Annie! at Moncton High School this past June.
Live Bait once again demonstrated its unfailing ability to connect the Sackville community and Mount Allison through the mutual love of theatre. Although some Sackville residents have criticized Mt. A’s occasional failure to attract audiences from outside the university sphere, events like this one prove that Live Bait is dedicated to promoting the arts within all circles of Sackville’s diverse community.
The dinner theatre is one of several entertaining fundraising events that Live Bait has organized for the upcoming season. They will host “Lest We Forget” on Nov. 8 and 9 to commemorate Canadian soldiers in accordance with Remembrance Day, and “The Naughty List,” an annual Christmas-themed dinner theatre performed from November Nov. 30 to Dec. 14.