A couple of months ago, Ryan and I spotted a Groupon for a murder mystery dinner set at a masquerade ball – and we were sold. Tonight, after weeks of waiting, it was finally here. So he donned a tux (what a dish!), I dug out a floor-length gown and white gloves, and together we tottered to Zanger Hall on 34th Street.
…where everyone else was wearing jeans.
Oh well – at least we had a delicious three-course dinner to look forward to. Oh wait, what’s that? The caterer’s didn’t show up? We get a soggy courgette sandwich instead? Washed down with warm beer from a half-stocked bar?
We were seated at a table with other guests, and after about an hour and a half, the ‘entertainment’ got underway. We expected actors to play out a murder on stage before leaving it up to us to figure out.
In fact, members of the audience were picked at random to take on the roles and called to stage to introduce themselves. Then the other diners walked around the room and quizzed the characters about their relationships with others in a bid to find the murderer.
Ryan and I were baffled. How did the members of the audience playing characters know what to answer? And how did the crowd know what to ask?
After more increasingly bizarre rounds – in which the characters were pulled to the stage to reveal grudges or potential motives – we realized there was a binder on our table that we’d not read. Earlier in the night, we’d seen the character at our table reading it, but thought it was just for him.
Well as it turns out, it would’ve been pretty helpful for us to read because it detailed the characters and their connections. No wonder we had zero idea what was going on! It would have been nice for the organizers to have let us in on this secret…
Perhaps most of the crowd had been to these before and so knew what to do, but we were so confused – not only by the rules but also by how many people there seemed to love it. We didn’t even wait to find out who the murderer was and left.
We weren’t the only ones – in fact, we made it hours longer than the couple opposite us.
Ryan and I have great attitudes when it comes to trying out new things, so you know we’re not being Debbie downers when we say this was rubbish. I can forgive the caterers not showing up (that was possibly out of the organizers’ hands) but the lack of explanation of the game, awful organization, poor service and painfully bad acting was unforgivable.
As we headed home, we tried to be positive and listed the things we’d enjoyed – but only came up with one: An actor who’d taken the lead roles of the victim and the investigator really carried the whole thing. But that was it.
Thankfully the night was saved by our refusal to be beaten – and a trip to Veselka in the East Village for a very, very late dinner. Hello potato pancakes and cherry pies, goodbye RUBBISH MURDER MYSTERIES