By Dan Chavez, Staff Reporter | Photo Courtesy of Foulplaycafe.com
Guests to the Foul Play Mystery Theater can try to solve a crime while dining, enjoying a show, and picking up clues as they are revealed.
Physics major, Cora Brittain manages the operations, advertising, sets, props, and costumes for the production of Foul Play Café located on the ground floor of the Sheraton Inn at 2600 Louisiana Blvd N.E.
Brittain described Foul Play as an interactive production in which the actors mingle around the dining floor and stay in character while helping the audience to solve a murder mystery, she said.
Guests can ask the actors for clues to the mystery and try to identify the culprit to the heinous crime of the night, Brittain said.
Main director, Eddie Dethlefs, said Foul Play Café is basically a murder-mystery theater and dinner event, and that the production consists of an interactive mystery play in which the actors also serve food to that evening’s guests.
“The way I like to sum it up is basically live action Clue,” Dethlefs said, which is a comedic murder mystery movie and board game.
Guests can play along as much or as little as they want, and it is fun when an audience member will dance around with the actors or play a part as an improvised character, Dethlefs said.
Brittain said the current mystery is a play off of “Casablanca” with characters loosely based on those in the movie.
The show features a Humphrey Bogart character played by two different actors who alternate for different shows; they also have two actresses who play a character based on Ingrid Bergman, she said.
The tone is one of fun and comedy with a prize for the guest who solves the mystery, which is a t-shirt that features the show’s logo saying, “I solved the mystery,” she said.
Brittain felt that the current show is their best yet.
“It’s a lot of fun, high energy, the cast is a really good mix, and so far we’ve had a lot of really good feedback,” she said.
The food for the Foul Play Café is banquet style, that is handled by the hotel and consists of selections including beef or chicken entrées, or vegetarian dishes, Britain said.
The selection of food changes for each show and the menu changes periodically, she said.
The production is a small, which has a seven-person cast with a minimalist set and more of a concentration on costumes, she said.
The audience size is kept small with as few as 15 guests to a maximum of 100, and Brittain said that there tends to be more interaction between guests and the actors in smaller groups, while a larger audience may be more of a traditional show with less interaction.
The Foul Play Murder Mystery Theater attracts a wide variety of audiences, so there is no particular type of person who comes to watch the shows, she said.
“We have people who love theater and people who are just looking for a night out. We don’t really have a certain demographic other than people who have a little more disposable income. Beyond that, it’s a wide age range,” Brittain said.
Rebecca Holcombe, one of the actresses playing the Ingrid Bergman character in the current production said that she was so glad to get cast in the show.
“I love doing it, I really do. I’m excited for more, I’m really excited for the next show, because I play a crazy character,” she said.
Actor Chris Adams, who plays the modified Humphrey Bogart character in the current production said he is challenging himself to develop his character while keeping with the tone of the production.
Adams said he enjoys the variation in audience members, some of whom include children, couples celebrating an anniversary, and various others celebrating birthdays, he said.