Theater Review | Thru Oct. 31

Theater Review | Thru Oct. 31
Have you ever wanted to be a sleuth? How about an actor? You get the chance to do both in Simply Murder’s presentation of Malice in Blunderland at the Historic Hanna House, 3801 Madison Ave.
Be a sleuth and an actor at ‘Malice in Blunderland.’.
Brought to you by the folks from the Mystery Café at the Milano Inn, Malice in Blunderland is interactive theater to the max. In fact, the audience is the show. Each person is assigned a character. Upon arriving, you are given your character’s name and basic information, as well as any props that fit your character’s role or personality. The set-up is that you are on an island ruled over by the Blunder family. The time is 1861. Matriarch Hellava Blunder is ready to pass on her rule to one of her children — she has five at home and one that ran away at a very young age. Oldest son Koll Lossel and his twin sister Kay Oss would seem to be the natural candidates, but things in this script are never what they seem. The action moves along with the help of author and “director” Aline Payne, pen name Miss Terrie Wrider. Payne gives you the information you need to move from round to round, where you search for clues, interact with the other guests and explore the beautiful Hanna House, which is from the same time period the show is set in. As an example, I loved my character, Awesume Blunder. I was the third child; a middle sibling who is shy, not too bright and keeps a pet cat, Chess Shire, much in the same way as Dr. Evil from Austin Powers. When I got nervous or upset, I was instructed in my program to pet the kitty. As a Blunder child, I was able to take “The Challenge,” which was a determining factor in who would rule Blunderland. My husband, Wrought N. Heggs, desperately wanted me to win because he only married me for my inheritance. He and his brother, Hammond Heggs, were involved in some mysterious business at one point, which will factor into the conclusion of the story. The show is never the same twice. It has eight possible outcomes, which are determined by Payne. And, of course, depending on the crowd for any given evening — number, temperament, etc. — you never really know what you are going to get. Because of the nature of the show, if you make reservations, please show up — your absence could create problematic character holes. The whole experience is a lot of fun, and really what you make of it. When you go, don’t be shy. The more you interact, the more storylines you will uncover, and that’s the point. The webs between characters are complicated and figuring out the connections can get confusing, but as Payne said, that’s part of the fun. If you’re not confused at times, you aren’t doing something right. It’s a big family mess of Jerry Springer proportion and you get to be an eyewitness to the intrigue. Some ironing out does need to happen. During dinner, people were hesitant to re-engage in their interaction, not quite knowing where the line between dinner and show was. Note pads are furnished on each table to facilitate non-intrusive communication, but some of the answers I needed required a face-to-face conversation. And the last scene can get a little draggy, because each and every person is given the spotlight for a couple minutes — that means somewhere around 30 monologues, give or take. After a while, the pun-fest that is the conclusion got to be a bit much (as my friend said, “pun-ishment”), but filling in all the holes was still interesting. This would be a fantastic opportunity for large groups, but is also something you could do alone — there were times I didn’t see my friend for a half hour. It’s a silly good time either way. Malice in Blunderland continues through Oct. 31. Tickets, which include dinner, are $40 Fridays, $45 Saturdays. Call 634-0864.

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