Los Angeles Times by Margaret Wappler

L.A.'s Killer Theater, Selected Best Southland Scene -- The Gourmet Detective

There's an edgy breed of dinner theater on the menu, if you don't mind a little murder with your meal.

This is dinner theater, reinvented. The vision of cold, dark places with over-emotive actors in crooked wigs and circles of rouge has been replaced with quick, clever productions that increasingly rely on the formula of the murder mystery. Most invite crowd participation, where else can you be accused of a heinous crime over dessert? And, yes, the performers are generally real people with day jobs involving things like hard drives and research reports, but there's something cathartic about the proximity of audience to actor.

Traditional dinner theater is still out there, but for now we flitted about the Southland with one question: Whodunit?

Mellow and nostalgic, Gourmet Detective emphasizes '20s-themed entertainment with its 'Bullets Over Broadway'-style show. "Darling, You Slay Me," is a 1920s throwback that uses the play-within-a-play convention. While the audience dines, characters with names such as Dick March and April June swish around with cigarette holders, pouring stiff drinks, accusing one another in growls and purrs and invoking healthy doses of bawdy-but-PG humor.