July 5, 2020

Theater Review: Making a Killing

posted on: Thursday November 8, 2001

by Adrienne Larsen-Silva

Play info:
Murder on Us
Dinner Theatre – 
Barnsider Restaurant, South Main Street, 245-5850

Whether there’s nothing else going on or you’re just bored with your usual routine, the Barnsider Restaurant offers an interesting blend of food and entertainment every Friday and Saturday night with their “Murder on Us” dinner theatre. The Barnsider is located on South Main Street, just off of Route 195. The restaurant itself tends to be pricier than what most of us college students can readily afford, however, the dinner theatre is somewhat reasonably priced at $37 per person, considering that amount includes a four course meal and the performance (drinks are purchased separately at a cash bar). Currently, the restaurant is presenting “Survivor: The Mystery!”, a none-too subtle spoof of the popular reality show, in which four “survivors” compete in contests to be allowed to stay on “the island,” and then when their host is killed, it is up to the audience to figure out “whodunit.” The show is very much an interactive one, with the audience divided up into two “tribes” (“Cheech” and “Chong” – I kid you not) that have the chance to vote a survivor off at one point. Additionally, the characters circle around to different tables as you eat, occasionally trying to weasel food from you, which you, of course, are not supposed to give them. At the end of the night, the audience member who does the best job of solving the mystery gets their money refunded. The story is not particularly complex, and the actors actually spend more time improvising at each table then they do acting out a plot, especially as there are 20-30 minute gaps in between “scenes” so that courses may be served. However, the actors are by no means second-rate, and each one brings to life a different but equally amusing character. Marcia Murphy, the only female cast member, plays Ally, an Australian naturalist whose overly aggressive demeanor is reminiscent of the real life “Crocodile Hunter.” Michael Messier is Skip, the skipper from the show “Gilligan’s Island,” who became disillusioned with life once the series ended, and Charles Johnson, Jr., is Dick, a rather effeminate man whose top priority is to look out for himself. R.T. Chantry is Rudy, a former member of the Canadian military who has flashbacks about Eskimos, and whose accent sounds much like the French taunter from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Finally, the host, S.A. Tan (get it?) played by John Thayer, is a sarcastic Australian who keeps the show moving at a brisk pace. Upon arriving, you are assigned to a table with anywhere from two to several other couples, and the first course, a garden salad and small white rolls, is waiting for you. Topped with a light Italian dressing, the vegetables were fresh and the salad just big enough to stave off hunger. The next course consisted of the soup du jour, which in this case was beef vegetable with rice, a delicious recipe that was neither too heavy nor too filling. For the entrée, three choices were available – a petite aged top sirloin steak (for which the Barnsider is well known), chicken Florentine in a tomato-basil cream sauce, or salmon with a lemon-pepper seasoning. Both my friend and I chose the chicken, which was stuffed with spinach and cheese and baked in a pastry shell, and was also wonderfully tender and juicy. All the entrées were served with a large baked potato (both sour cream and butter were available) and what was advertised as a “vegetable medley,” but which in reality was one large piece of broccoli (although I was thankful for that because I was getting full). The last course, dessert and either coffee or tea, consisted of a small slice of chocolate chip cheesecake surrounded with just a bit of rich chocolate sauce. Each course was just big enough so that you could eat everything and not be uncomfortably full upon leaving. It seemed a little disjointed to go back and forth from watching the play to eating and back again, but in retrospect it gave you enough time to eat and not feel as though you had to rush through dinner so the play could begin. The waitstaff was prompt and very polite (gratuity is included in the price), and the dining area was small but intimate, so that everything could be seen. The dinner theatre makes for a nice evening, whether one is on a date (several couples in the room were there for their anniversaries) or with friends. It is probably a bit more expensive than your usual night out, but the food is wonderful and the show is entertaining. Reservations are a must, as each show seems to sell out by the end of the week (this was the third time I had attempted to go). For more information about the dinner theatre or to make reservations, call 245-5850.GRADE: A-

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