Mystery and a Meal in Toronto
A Look at the Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre
Uptown Toronto is often overlooked by visitors, as they’re too focused on the more famous attractions downtown. Among uptown’s fantastic boutiques and restaurants is a hidden gem; offering both great food and intriguing entertainment, known as Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre.
“We are a murder mystery dinner theatre,” explains Iliki Mahairas, the General Manager. While the guests enjoy their meal, a colourful cast of characters comes into the dining room. After getting to know them a bit, one of them inexplicably dies, and it’s up to the audience to help the detective solve the case by questioning the characters.
The plot isn’t always the same, either, so no worries about seeing the same case twice. “We do change our mysteries 2-3 times per year,” she says. The cast and crew actually write the mysteries themselves, working to make new themes and plots. “We’ve been doing it for 30 years, so we’re pretty good at it. We’ve developed a pretty good formula for writing them, and our actors are fantastic.”
They certainly have to be, as it’s not as easy as just walking onto a stage and playing a part. As in all theatre, the actors have to be ready for anything. Mahairas says, “There is rehearsal because it is scripted, but there’s also a lot of improvisation because they’re schmoozing with the guests.” Improvisation is tricky, as you have to be ready for anything the audience throws at you and still be in character. As they’re sitting right at the table with the guests, they have to be especially quick-witted.
Never solve a mystery on an empty stomach. Mahairas has plenty of praise for the food. “We have a fantastic new chef, Joanne Luste. We try not to have the typical dinner theatre food,” she says. There are plenty of options for any diet, from vegetarian and vegan, to gluten free, to chicken, beef, and fish, plus dessert. “There’s a little something for everybody. Everything is fresh and we do make it on site.”
“When guests arrive, it’s sort of at their own pace,” she says. “Some people start with a round of drinks; some go right into their soup or salad. The characters come out at 8:00 p.m., so most are finishing dessert.” Once that happens, the real fun starts as the mystery begins.
“There are prizes awarded to some of the guests who correctly helped solve the mystery at the end of the evening.,” Mahairas says that the audience gets really into it, too, with some people creating whole lists of clues. “Generally speaking they get quite involved. They enjoy being part of the mystery.” In fact, some people even come in costume, depending on the theme. “When we had a 1920s speakeasy murder mystery we had people coming in dressed appropriately all the time. It depends on if the mystery theme lends itself to costumes.”
Don’t worry about the whodunit being too hard. “They’re all solvable. The clues are all there. There’s always a good number of people who will solve the mystery and win the prizes.”
In fact, the show gets quite a few repeat visitors. “We do have people who come here every year to celebrate. We have one couple who celebrated their first anniversary here 20 years ago and has come back every year ever since,” Mahairas says.
If you’re the sort who enjoys a little intrigue with your meal, Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre is exactly what you need. “It’s great food, great entertainment,” she says. “It’s a unique experience. You don’t just sit down and watch; you get to be part of the show. You become part of the family.”
-By Ettractions Digital Content Editor, ALLISON BENNETT
Other States: Ontario
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