Bats: The Non-Musical
Directed by Christopher Haven Jones
If you are up for something a little different, and the inner ham in you is screaming to be set free, Mystery Café can offer you an outlet. Interactive dinner theater set at the Milano Inn, the Mystery Café lets you be a star.
Dannon Crews and Jennifer Elliot host the Ghoulical Ball in 'Bats: The Non-Musical,' presented by The Mystery Company at the Milano Inn through mid-April.
Currently running is Bats: The Non-Musical (a play on Cats, except this one references Andrew Floyd Blubber). The premise is that the undead have gathered in New Orleans at the Ghoulical Ball, an awards show, where a staker is taking undead lives. Our hosts are Count Nick de Vane (Dannon Crews) and his wife (Jennifer Elliot). You could be chosen to play other attendees, such as Mick Jagged, Bane Newton, Whoopi Ghoulberg and more. Those who are chosen to participate have only a few lines, and you don't have to get "on stage": The entire show is performed amongst the tables in the upstairs room of the Milano. You don't have to be a part of the action, but how much fun the evening is relies upon how much the audience participates. Crews and Elliot perform their bad puns and campy banter to keep the plot going, but the real laughs come from the everyday joes. At the end of the performance, prizes are awarded to the person who figures out who the staker is and a Hammy goes to the best audience performer.
Crews and Elliot give the best over-the-top performances in their alternate characters: Crews as the vampy, spike-heeled Trampolina and Elliot as the bug-eating manservant Grimfield. However, the script itself is a bit slow - the idea loses its oomph after a while and putters out. And be sure not to arrive famished. You get a course (soup, salad, choice of entrée and spumoni) after each act, and I thought my fiancé was going to go Jaws on the table - after arriving just past 7, we didn't get to the entrée until 9ish.
Bats: The Non-Musical will continue at the Milano Inn, 231 S. College Ave., Saturdays through mid-April. Tickets are $42, which includes dinner, show and tax. For reservations call 684-0668.