Murder mystery events usually take place over a dinner. There is a script and running order along with physical clues which might include bank statements, letters and contracts. The clues and the scenes acted out come together like a jigsaw and guests can interview the suspects in a role play / improvisation style setting. Because of this no two events are the same; there’s always something new and different that happens.
Each actor plays each role differently. We have a pool of actors so there may be three or four who play specific roles in the scripts. The aim is for an actor to make themselves look like the possible killer, so they have to maximise how guilty they appear. However, only the murderer is allowed to lie.
The guests must work out three things; Method (how the victim was killed), Motive (why) and Murderer (who). All of the suspects do something that could be a method, all of them have a motive and any of them could be the murderer.
Recently we had 100 people with a total of 10 teams, so 10 tables of 10 people. Five methods were guessed by the teams. One was correct and four teams guessed the same incorrect answer. One answer was completely new – there’s no limit to the creativity of our guests!
The correct motive was given by two teams. There was a spread of five different versions and generally they involved money. This is a fairly typical result with money and sex being the post common motives. Finally, one team guessed the correct suspect. Two of the suspects only had one team think it was them, so we can give the actors feedback and tell them to make themselves seem more guilty next time.
Because we run the same show many times and we get the feedback, in the form of the solutions. that the guests put forward we can assess performances and let actors know they need to be more or less guilty and this means that we can constantly perfect the show. So, our Murder Mysteries really do have a continuous improvement aspect. This show was our Little House Of Horrors script.