Mystery Dinner Photo

Curtains-Up Columbia and Hormonal Imbalance Theatre Troupe, LLC, put on a Christmas show, Deck the Halls for Murder, back in December. This spring, they're hosting Murder at Dodston Manor

If you’re looking for a way to take date night to the next level, why not try a murder mystery?

Put on by the company Curtains-Up Columbia and Hormonal Imbalance Theatre Troupe, LLC, Murder at Dodston Manor is a clever spin on your usual dinner-and-a-show. The interactive event lets you take part in solving a whodunnit mystery while enjoying a theater performance and a meal.

Dana Naylor, owner of the company, describes the show as a "dramedy," reminiscent of the hit British TV show Downton Abbey. The general plot consists of the Dodston family gathering for a party at the Dodston Manor on the fifth anniversary of a family member’s death; a lawyer joins the festivities to read the family will. Naylor wouldn't say much else, other than the fact that there is, of course, a murder — and a whole lot of mayhem accompanying it.

During the show, audience members act as party guests, tasked with assisting in the murder investigation. Naylor says the level of audience interaction will likely range from those who quietly view the show to louder, more interactive audience members, who might go so far as to act in character throughout the production.

Although it isn’t a musical, there are some songs in the performance, and the show is family-friendly, so everyone is welcome to come join in on the experience.

Murder at Dodston Manor isn’t the company’s first show. As Curtains-Up Columbia and Hormonal Imbalance Theatre Troupe, LLC has expanded over the past couple of years, so have the number of productions it runs. In December, the group hosted a holiday mystery dinner theater, which Naylor says sold out all four shows and even ended up with a waiting list. As of right now, there are three more shows scheduled for this year: a family musical, a mystery and a New Year's Eve celebration.

Stoney Creek Hotel will host Murder at Dodston Manor on March 29 and 30 and April 5 and 6, each at 7:30 p.m. There will be a three-course, buffet-style meal catered by Stoney Creek. The main entrees will include beef marsala and trout with key lime pie for dessert. A cash bar will also be available.

“These are always really fun,” Naylor says. “The murder mystery is always a big one, so grab tickets while you still can.”

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