July 7, 2007

Dinner Detective [Palms LA]

After coming across an LA Times article cataloging the area's array of Murder Mystery dinners, we rounded up a group to play detective at the comedy/improv-based Dinner Detective.

For $68.14, you are served a four-course meal of passed hor 'oeuvres, salad, an entre (chicken, beef, salmon, pumpkin ravioli), and dessert (apple tart, flourless chocolate cake, bread pudding) in addition to a 3-hour show, complete with a slew of murders, fake blood, and prize for the honorary deputy who solves the crime.

On the whole, the act is more interactive than other murder mysteries I've been to, with audience participation throughout and an interrogation session that gives you reason to talk to any stranger that your heart desires. Keep your eyes out for the conspicuous ones...

Improv is usually hit or miss and the Dinner Detective fell more upon the latter. The actors poked fun at the audience member's names, clothes, and demeanors, but didn't really have any biting wit of their own. The acting didn't really add much to the mystery, which is better solved by piecing together the clues that are handed out to your table.

The food was prepared by Cucina Paradiso and your standard fare of bulk-cooked items. In the case of such an event, keep your expectations low and choose items which lend themselves well to being cooked in large quantities. In the case of the Dinner Detective, that would mean the pumpkin ravioli and the bread pudding, though the ravioli was one of the smallest entrees on the table.

The solution to the crime was well within plausibility and we all glanced around, wondering who our Sherlock Holmes was. At the drum roll, we learned that is was Miss Scarlet also known as our very own, Yoshi! Her prize of Alfred Hitchcock DVDs, dinner for two at Cucina Paradiso, and a bottle of Fetzer Pinot Noir well made up for all the times we came home from Legendary Bingo empty-handed.

While the night was entertaining, my next murder mystery will be something more scripted--something that feels more like a show and less like I'm paying to watch a disorganized troop of actors mess around.

Yours Truly,
Fiona Fatale

Cucina Paradiso
3387 Motor Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(866) 496-0535

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