Today’s Special: Sleuth and Salad

eat. drink. Mississippi
February 2012

Imagine taking a date to a nice restaurant to enjoy a romantic dinner. Just as you bring your fork to your mouth to savor that first mouthful of food, you hear a ruckus coming from somewhere in the restaurant. Suddenly shots ring out, the crowd parts, and a dead body lies on the floor. Where did the shots come from? Is the killer still on the loose? The authorities arrive and begin questioning everyone in the restaurant. Your romantic dinner suddenly becomes a quest to solve a murder. Your evening is just not going as you had planned.

Or is it?

Turns out the dead body lying on the floor and the police officer questioning your involvement are just one of the many comedic actors and actresses that make up Mississippi Murder Mysteries, LLC. Founded in 2005 by actress Alahna Stewart, the troupe is made up of 14 men and women who by day work as doctors, lawyers, school teachers, artists, and business professionals. By night they bring to life the zany characters found in the troupe’s original scripts.

“Mississippi Murder Mysteries provides a different type of entertainment than just going to the theatre or dining out,” explains Tom Lestrade, current owner and managing director of the company. “Each performance is an interactive experience. There is no set show and no set stage. Much of the acting is improvisational and relies heavily on audience participation.”

The company currently performs between 30-40 shows a year. Each show is based on an original script written by one of the cast members. The four-act plays are centered around a three-course meal, with each act lasting between 15-20 minutes. The storyline is usually has a theme based on the season, venue, or event. At the end of the performance, the audience is asked to guess “who dunit.” Many performances are staged at restaurants across Mississippi. However, the troupe also provides entertainment for private events such as anniversaries, birthdays, corporate events, and wedding receptions. The group is also available for out-of-state performances.

For those looking to show off their acting chops, Lestrade encourages an interested actor or actress to attend one of their rehearsals. While there is no formal audition process, most members are active or have been active in community theater. Therefore, some acting experience is preferred. The troupe meets 2-3 evenings a week to rehearse.

As for who shot the patron in restaurant, you’ll have to attend a show to find out. However, make your reservation soon as shows fill up quickly.

For a schedule of upcoming shows and venues or to book a performance:

Mississippi Murder Mysteries, LLC