The Press Enterprise by Lesley-Anne North
My little girl was having a sleepover at her grandma’s house last weekend so my fiancé and I planned a date night. Instead of dinner and a movie, we went for dinner and a murder and headed for The Gourmet Detective, which is an interactive dinner theatre. We had gone to The Gourmet Detective before, nearly two years ago when the show was new to Riverside and I was curious to see how much we would enjoy it the second time around. I won’t keep you in suspense… we had such a great time that we’re still talking about it a week later.
The show has gotten better with age and the cast runs the place like a well oiled machine. We arrived, were shown to our seats, and the fun began immediately, as we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a murder mystery. The suspects are all around you, serving you dinner, gossiping about who they think is the murderer, and performing musical numbers from time to time. Piano accompaniment compliments the atmosphere as the story unfolds. It’s very classy…very Bogart.
The murder mystery suspense is spiked with fierce comedy. I laughed so hard that I was brought to tears on several instances throughout the evening. One suspect flirted with my fiancé so much that his face turned red. At one point a detective stormed in to the room asking what all the commotion was and an audience member sheepishly replied “next door,” which sent the detective searching into what was a closet. We fed off of each others laughter and it was fantastic. The more involved we became in the show, the more outrageous it was. Between acts, we were served a delicious dinner. Guests have their choice of Slow Roasted Tri Tip, Pan Seared Chicken Breast, Grilled Atlantic Salmon or a Vegetarian Mexican meal You’ll also enjoy a fresh salad and a slice of cheesecake with your meal. While we dined, our table would talk about who we thought was the murderer and we’d bounce theories off of each other. However when the time came to wager a guess the woman across from me laughed and said “I’m usually pretty good at these things but I have no idea!” The murderer was revealed while I sipped on coffee. It was a bitter sweet finale because we truly didn’t want it to end.
The Gourmet Detective is a great night out and a perfect escape from the daily grind...and a great way to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. What takes their show from “good” to “extraordinary,” is that they allow the audience to dictate how much they want to be involved. You can be like the man across the row from us, who sat back and laughed but didn’t engage the performers. Or you can be like me, who got pulled up alongside the actors to re-enact a possible ending based on my ridiculous guess at “Whodunit?” Whatever your style, to loosely paraphrase a line from one of the musical numbers: “So you’re a saint, so you’re a sinner, either way you’ll still get dinner.”