I’ll be Homicidal for Christmas, A Laugh Filled Murder Mystery That You Get to Help Solve!

Production posters

I love a mystery, I mean it, I’m not just listing the name of an old radio program, I really do love a mystery. What I discovered today, but have suspected for a long time, is that I’m no good at solving them. But hey, maybe that’s why I like them so much, the solutions always strike me as ingenious. I’m content to be Dr. Watson along for the ride, baffled and then embarrassed at how elementary it all sounds when it’s explained to me like a fourth grader trying to grasp the difference between a semicolon and a colon. And like the mystery of the colons each time a new whodunnit arises I’m baffled all over again. All I know for certain is that a couple of years ago I had part of my : removed, so now I just have a ;. The Mystery Cafe has been baffling and making audiences laugh since 1989; but this was my first meal and a murder with them: and I found it delightful! The current show, I’ll be Homicidal for Christmas runs into January, but if you can’t make that they also have two other shows on their schedules and one of them runs into February.

I attended a brunch performance and aside from the very entertaining show there was a tasty buffet meal, I believe the evening performances come with a 3 course meal. The plot of I’ll be Homicidal for Christmas per the Mystery Cafe website is:

Albee Humphrey used to be a household name, but these days his star is fading. He’s got one last shot at a comeback – with a network televised Christmas special. There’s celebrity guests, variety acts, and…murder. This is his last chance to be a star again. He’ll either make it back on top… or die trying!

Albee Humphrey is played by Eric Webster of the MORLS or The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society for long, which faithful readers will recognize as a favorite of mine. I’d seen and heard Webster Perform with the MORLS and in other shows for years, I’ve even interviewed him for the Twin Cities Theater Chat podcast (click on link to hear that episode https://bit.ly/TCTCMORLS ), so I knew he could act and that he’s very funny, but what I wasn’t aware of is that he’s a very good singer as well. Webster is perfectly cast, his love of classic radio and films informs his performance as Humphrey, he nails the look and style of the character. When I booked the show I was also excited to see his wife Shanan Custer was also in the cast. I was a little disappointed when I found out she wouldn’t be at the performance but her replacement Kathy Kupiecki was wonderful playing three different characters. My favorite of which was Sheila, one half of a knife throwing act, whose name I can remember because she kept introducing herself. Also doing triple duty in the show is Paul Somers who plays the other half of the knife throwing duo as well as Pickles the Ventriloquist and Bernie Bridges. Bridges is the other half of a comedy team with Humphrey in the mold of Martin and Lewis who hate each other and haven’t worked together in 20 years. Somers is hysterical in all three roles getting the most fabulous costume and wigs to round out his eccentric characters. The other main performers are the wonderful Randy Schmeling as the Director of the TV special and Rita Boersma as Frankie his assistant. Both are decked out in 1970’s attire really looking the part, hats off to whomever is in charge of costumes and wigs they add so much fun to the experience. And lastly, as the almost overlooked Production Manager Simon is Michael Franssen, he doesn’t get a lot to say but you can tell he’s the guy behind the scenes keeping everything on track.

The wonderful cast does a great job of performing in and amongst the audience. I’m always surprised at the ability of certain performers to stay in character while stand right next to the audience and even interacting with them. I know some of these performers from seeing them in improv shows and I suspect those skills serve them well here. I got the sense that a couple of the lines spoken to each other were unscripted and it was fun to see them trying not to laugh at the lines they were being fed. For more information and to purchase tickets to I’ll be Homicidal for Christmasor any of the Mystery Cafe shows go to https://www.themysterycafe.com/

This Holiday season why not start a new tradition of taking in a live theater production with family and friends? It’s a great way to create lasting memories and will give you something to look forward to every year as you experience the magic of live theater. Whether your budget is large or small, there is a show for you. Looking for gift ideas? Don’t we all have enough “stuff”? Give the gift of live theater, go to your favorite theaters website, see what shows they have coming up in the new year and give the gift of an experience over material.

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I am also a member of the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers (TCTB), where you can read roundups of shows by my colleagues and I when you follow us on facebook @TwinCitiesTheaterBloggers. We also produce the podcast Twin Cities Theater Chat!! which you can access through this link or wherever you enjoy podcasts https://twincitiestheaterchat.buzzsprout.com/ . We post biweekly longer form episodes that will focus on interviews and discussions around theater topics. There is also shorter episodes in which we Bloggers tell you what we think you should get out and see as well as what we have on our schedules that we are most looking forward too. 

Headshot of Rob Dunkelberger
Rob Dunkelberger

Rob is a member of the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers and their podcast Twin Cities Theater Chat as well as a syndicating contributor to Minnesota Playlist. Read all his content www.thestagesofmn.com