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Theatre group’s murder mystery keeps sold-out crowds guessing

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Tiffany Goulet’s character examines a potential murder weapon during the second act of Theatre 17’s production of Murder Inn. She is joined by Theresa Lambert (left) and Murray Cook (background). Photos by Chris Marchand

By Chris Marchand

It was a triumphant week for Dryden theatre collective Theatre 17 as they hosted a run of three sold-out dinner theatre events at The Centre, April 25-27.

Over the three nights, over 600 theatre goers set their senses to deducing the identity of the unknown villain in Howard Voland and Keith McGregor’s Murder Inn — a classic tale of mystery set in a dilapidated New England Inn.

Director Judith Hamilton, who became part of the crowd for the Saturday night performance, delighted at the play’s ability to bring strangers together to try to solve the mystery. With acts of the play being performed between courses of the meal, audience members were asked in questionnaires to guess which character was the murderer — the correct submissions were drawn for prizes at night’s end.

“It was a really fun thing to do,” said Hamilton. “An interesting kind of social icebreaker. Very often the people at the tables didn’t know each other beforehand, but surely did by the end of the evening.”

The play managed a large cast of local characters including Adam Riley, Audrey Nosworthy, Rachele Dupuis-Morris, Tiffany Goulet, Megan Gadd, Corina Leclerc-Roberts, Lindsay Desaulniers, Logan Waller, Murray Cook, Julija Graham, Theresa Lambert and Peter Marshall.

A dozen more were involved in behind-the scenes functions like Rick Smith (lights), stagehands Riley Hill, Sabrina Desaulniers, Derek Schroder, Chris Turpin (sound), Trevor Gauthier (sound), Linda Cunningham (stage manager), Lucille and Emile Dupuis (props and sets), Bev Whittaker (seamstress) Marj Salavich (costumes and prompter) and Sandy Duncan (hair).

The meal was catered by Nancy Ross.

While Hamilton says audience response was very positive to the dinner theatre project, she says the group is preparing to move a little out of their comfort zone for their next project.

In three weeks time, casting will begin for a February 2014 production of Tim Firth’s Calendar Girls — the story of a group of Women’s Institute members in Yorkshire, UK who embark on a nude calendar fundraiser for their health clinic.

Based on a very popular movie, Hamilton says the Calendar Girls project is certain to challenge cast members in a way she hopes will become a ‘triumphant bonding experience’.

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