It is Master James Cameron’s 21st Birthday and his step-father, Henry, would like to invite you to attend a night of frivolities in his honour. Be on the lookout though, because at this haunted mansion, you never know what might happen, or who might be dead by the end of the evening.
In fact, no one who attended the opening night of the Marburg Mansion’s murder mystery dinner was able to accurately predict who the murderer was and why they committed such an atrocious act. Perhaps you may do better during one of the subsequent shows hosted by narrator Katrina Lee, the Assistant Event’s Coordinator at Woodlands of Marburg.
Katrina is also the creator and director of this wonderful evening. Not only did she write the Murder Mystery herself, but after casting a number of actors, who all couldn’t comprehend the idea of performing without a set script, she gave the roles to local individuals, each with a connection to the old mansion. Considering their amateur acting status, the group did surprisingly well. There were no breaks from character, no accidental giggling and each performer was more than capable of engaging in conversation with guests and dropping hints that were sometimes useful, but more frequently designed to confuse us. I especially enjoyed my time with the blithering Henry, who worked very hard to ensure the guests mingled with one another.
During our time chatting to the characters, canapé’s, the first of three delicious courses were bought around. The program advertises that canapés were to be served on the lawn but the chilly evening air had us moved straight into the dining room. This new location however came with its merits as it gave us more time to take in the room and look for clues… and yes I did find some… and no, I won’t tell you where they are. You will have to go along and look for them yourself.
Whilst, the food was delicious and the actors made you feel like you had known them for years, Murder in the Mansion is the first performance by the group and there are still some kinks to work out. During the opening evening I sat across from a lady at dinner who was determined to steal the show. In fact it took me over an hour to realise she wasn’t actually part of the performance, but had simply taken on her own character. She spent dinner shouting questions down the long table and ignoring the rest of us who might have liked to undertake our own integrations. With practice however, I’m sure the actors will be able to confidently rein in those in attendance and ensure every participant’s voice is heard.
The four hour evening ended with a tour of the heritage mansion which was at least partly responsible for the brilliant atmosphere of the night’s performance. During the tour we heard about the many ghost stories that have been passed down with the house, and whilst we were unable to hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet, it is rumoured that one of Mary Marburg’s eleven children still enjoys playing in the spacious mansion. Perhaps he is playing the Filipino maid who may or may not have been pushed down the stairs by his mother.
All in all… it was a very creepy and engaging evening.
This review is based on the reviewer’s experience of the performance on May 8.
Purchase your tickets to Murder in the Mansion here.