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'Murder at Bunny and Clyde's' tests audience's concentration, solutions

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"Murder at Bunny and Clyde's"

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Dining out offers so many choices, but one most people might not consider is dinner theater when it involves a murder mystery and the guests become the suspects as was the case at the fraternity of Eagles club in Independence Mo., on May 17 when “Murder at Bunny and Clyde’s entrapped seemingly innocent suspects in murderous adventure.

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And, the whole evening brings a lot of fun and a whole lot of laughs. Guests arrive about 6:30 p.m., and mingle with the two characters who host the evenings party. During that time, several small bits of paper are distributed to selected the guests for use later in the show.

The selected guests have the opportunity to read and understand their parts, as this is audience participation at its best. While the evening guests are partaking cheese and veggie hors d’oeuvres, that cast sets the stage for the murder.

Bunny and Clyde start to tell their story and introduce the selected guests, now present and enjoying tidbits before the main course. After brief introductions and a few helpful clues and insight into the “special” guests, all present move to partake of a catered buffet and enjoy dinner while the cast prepares for the murder mystery about to unfold.

After dinner, Bunny entered, screaming to announce she had just found Clyde murdered with a knife sticking out of his back. From that point on, several other characters enter and provide several snippets of information and clues to the actual murderer. While all this takes place, guests are encouraged to think about what they have seen, what they have heard, and who they suspect. How could someone as nice as the person sitting across the table be the murderer?

After all the evidence and clues have been carefully examined and laid out in front of all of the guests to observe and think about, all party guests are given the opportunity to write down whom they suspect of murder.

While invited guests enjoy dessert, the ballots are examined by the cast who return to explain the “hidden” clues, and the final naming of the murderer awaits.

After dessert, the clues are carefully explained and the murderer identified. Invited guests with the correct solution to the murder win a small token for their expert knowledge.

“Annie-Mae Allure produces the dinner/theater events at various sites throughout the Kansas City Metro area. This was her first such event for the FOE lodge. Scripts come from Upstage Productions, written by Kevin O'Brien.

“I think he’s got about 30 of these dinner style murder/mysteries that we choose from. They are always a lot of fun. You never know what the random audience members will bring to the show, so we have to improvise a lot,” Jamie Lin, a.k.a. Bunny, said.

Overall, the evening begins about 6:30 and ends about 9 p.m. Someone from each table participates as a suspect, so focus and movement include all tables, remains fun, lively, and all-inclusive. The zany characters just add mirth to the mix.

For “Murder at Bunny and Clyde’s, two performers pulled off the shenanigans. Jamie Lin and Erik J. Pratt took center stage. Lin plays Bunny and stays onstage to keep the action flowing while Pratt disappears several times to change into different clothes and personas.

Both Lin and Pratt are fun performers and play well off each other and the audience members. Lin, clad in a Betty Boop-style, short, sequined black dress chats throughout the evening and keeps the piece moving as Pratt disappears, only to return as a completely different character. Pratt portrayed four characters, Clyde Schwartz, Neddy Schwartz, Dr. Hackenbush, and Jaques La Cop.

“Murder at Bunny and Clyde’s provides an evening of food, fun, foolishness, and many bad jokes. The evening, is rated “G” and even the youngsters could attend and enjoy the show.

“Murder at Bunny and Clyde’s” provides a fun, audience participation evening, a good dinner, and a full evening of entertainment. Annie-Mae Allure produces shows regularly, including a variety/Burlesque show at the Eagles Lodge. To purchase tickets, or get further information, check out Annie-Mae Allure's website. Allure's mystery/dinner can be booked at other venues as well.

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