‘Foul Play’ is a fun time

‘Foul Play’ is  a fun timeBy BRIAN COSNER, News Review Staff Writer

Theater lovers, whodunnit fans and board game enthusiasts unite! Master Mystery Productions founder Daniel Stallings’ latest stage concoction “Foul Play” is a truly unique murder mystery that’s part theater, part scavenger hunt, part “Wheel of Fortune” and terrifically entertaining.

The show opened last Saturday, July 20, at Red Rock Books and was something unlike any of my previous theater experiences. For starters, there was free cake as soon as I arrived, which I took to be a good sign. The confection was elaborately decorated like a chessboard adorned with colorful figures.

There was some fretting about how the cake’s “king” piece had accidentally fallen over, but as Stallings was milling about among the audience before the show started, he chalked it up to providential foreshadowing (I suppose I could have said “spoiler alert,” but it wouldn’t be a murder mystery if nobody died).

As the play began, we all huddled around the “stage” in the center of the book store. The colorful cast of characters – Rusty Clementine (Calvin Johnson), Dahlia Rosewood (Cat Kreidt), Dr. Jasper Redmond (Jon Lewis), Sonny Goldstein (Nathan Murphy), Heather Violette (Leslie Blake), Iris Royale (Lexi Phillips) and Ivy Greenway (Felicity Browne) – entered and greeted one another as mutual partygoers at the invitation of the mysterious Mr. King.

The characters begin to panic when they discover what it is they all have in common – they are all suspected of getting away with different murders. And they begin to wonder who this “King” is and why they have been summoned.

Well if you didn’t guess it already, King ends up dead and one of the guests (or perhaps a member of the house staff) is likely responsible. The rest is up to you.

Audience members then get a chance to split into groups and interview each player, learning their motives, who they like, who they hate, their preferred method of getting their hands dirty and more. But be careful – you may hear some conflicting information. Bending the truth definitely isn’t beneath these murder suspects.

There’s also a prize wheel where the audience can get free clues. Just like in the “Clue” board game – once you’re made privy to a character, a weapon or a location, you can cross it off your list of possibilities (inside your program).

While many of the players’ interview responses are obviously rehearsed, they all do a great job of remaining in character and improvising when they must. Once you’ve had five minutes with each suspect, they return to the stage where the story unfolds further.

The game concludes after the audience gets a chance to hunt through the store’s bookshelves in search of more clue cards they can cross off their list. Each attendee is then given a ballot asking who, where, what and why (i.e. Colonel Mustard in the library with a wrench).

I won’t spoil the end, of course. But what I saw was only one of multiple possible endings. Additional shows are Saturdays July 27 and Aug. 3 and 10. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are available at Red Rock Books. For more information, find Master Mystery Productions on Facebook.

Story First Published: 2019-07-26