If you're looking for offbeat entertainment but don’t have a clue where to find it, mystery solved. Use your gray matter and immerse yourself in an atmosphere of mystery and mayhem in whodunits at local stages this week.
The intriguing theatrical experiences include a classic Agatha Christie puzzler performed in a Gold Coast drawing room, and a pair of murder mystery dinner theater shows littered with clues, interactive fun and comic misadventure.
Murder Mystery: “Towards Zero” by Agatha Christie
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15-17, Hempstead House at Sands Point Preserve, 127 Middle Neck Rd., Sands Point
INFO $60-$70; 516-304-5076, sandspointpreserveconservancy.org
If you’re in the mood for a classic crime caper, this Agatha Christie stage play, considered among her best, should keep you guessing until the final curtain.
“It has twists and turns and a lot of unexpected outcomes,” says Beth Horn, managing director of the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy, which is hosting the play at its preserved Hempstead House estate.
The suspense tale, which is being mounted by Long Island-based Tiger/Fried Productions, is set at Gull’s Point, a stone cliffside mansion similar to Hempstead House. Much of the action takes place in the drawing room, a typical setting for many a Christie tale.
“The audience will get a unique environmental theater experience, as if they were in the same room with the characters as the story unfolds,” says director J. Timothy Conlon of Dix Hills.
"The Family, The Fun & The Felony"
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Nov. 16, Domenico’s Restaurant, 3270-A, Hempstead Tpke., Levittown
INFO $50 includes dinner; knockemdeadcomedy.com
Two audience members at this dinner theater murder mystery will be given an offer they can’t refuse when they’re chosen to play crime boss Vinnie Bacchagaloop and his wife, Angelina.
In addition to a full-course dinner, the lucky couple will get servings of gentle gibes from the cast, says Tony Walker of Wantagh, writer and director of Knock 'em Dead Comedy, which is producing the show. “We bust their chops, and they bust ours,” says Walker, who also plays mob godfather Dominic Barzini.
During the play, the make-believe mobsters mingle with the audience, spouting both scripted and ad-libbed lines. The murder takes place at a Bacchagaloop crime family bash. When the party’s crashed by the rival Barzini family, “all hell breaks loose,” Walker says.
“We get people up to dance, we play party games and talk to audience members throughout the show,” Walker adds. During dessert, guests interrogate the suspects and try to solve the crime. And who says crime doesn't pay?: Part of the ticket price benefits the East Meadow Volunteer Fire Department.
"Massacre at the Election!"
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Nov. 16, Palmer’s American Grille, 123 Fulton St., Farmingdale
INFO $60; 516-420-0609, killingkompany.com
Dinner theater guests may find the tables turned on them at this interactive political murder mystery, which sandwiches acts between food courses.
Playgoers get to dine with cast members playing the police, victims and suspects. They also can choose what crime they want to see committed and may themselves be named as suspects based on cooked-up evidence.
“They get their 60 seconds of fame where they can show off,” says Jon Avner, founder of Levittown-based The Killing Kompany.
There’s also room for dance breaks before the guilty parties get their just deserts, well, after dessert. Playgoers view an evidence table, cast a ballot for the killer and prizes are given out for detective work and acting.
The plot is topical and involves “voting rights” while avoiding political party labels, Avner says.
“It’s not going to be Democrat vs. Republican," he adds. "We don’t want to offend anybody.”