Frequently Asked Questions
- What Is A Murder Mystery?
Click on one of the headings below to see a list of frequently asked questions relating to that topic. If you cannot find an answer to your question here call us on 03300 882 851 or click here to send us your question and we will answer as soon possible.
The idea of live action murder mystery entertainment goes back as far as the 1950s, the heyday of Agatha Christie and many other mystery writers, but these were run as one-off occasions by individuals for friends and family. It wasn't until the late 1970s that companies in America started running regular murder mystery evenings and weekends; very soon they came to the UK and by the mid-1980s the murder mystery weekend had become regarded as a very British form of entertainment.
The general idea of a murder mystery event, whether an evening or a weekend, is that the audience are invited to interact to varying degrees with actors. These actors play the characters in a plot which involves the murder of one or more of the characters. From interacting with the actors and/or putting clues together, the audience must solve the mystery, usually over the course of a meal or two.
Whilst all murder mysteries share this basic set-up, there are many different ways it can be performed.
What types of murder mystery event are there?
The most basic type of murder mystery is essentially dinner-theatre, where the audience simply watch the actors perform several short acts which detail the motives of all the characters. This, however, allows for little interaction with the actors and the audience are relegated to the role of passive observers.
Some events involve the audience playing the roles of the suspects and one or two actors facilitate the murder mystery. This can be great fun for a corporate event, where everybody already knows everybody else. However, given the fact that the audience are generally not briefed on the plot (and are not necessarily trained actors), the scenarios tend to be rather simple and lacking in depth. It can be fun to watch your boss get "murdered", but if you want to solve a mystery you may be left feeling a little hard done by.
A newer form of murder mystery simulates a real crime scene, with the audience playing the parts of detectives. There are few actors but lots of hard evidence is available to the audience. The emphasis for this style of event is far more on gritty realism, with many of the organisers being ex-police. However, those who like a little more drama and excitement may not be totally satisfied with the more academic nature of the event.
Some murder mystery companies work with a formula that allows for more, shorter "scenes" between the actors and therefore more audience interaction with the audience. This is the format that we favour, but there are still many differences between companies adopting this approach. There are some companies that rely on a minimal plot and the imaginations of their actors, who improvise many of the scenes. This means that it becomes very difficult for the audience to work anything out as they don't know what is a clue and what is a discrepancy between two actors who are making it up as they go along.
Another "flavour" of murder mystery is the "comedy murder mystery", usually accompanied by pun-laden names and pantomime style action (and acting). They are usually good entertainment, but usually lack any depth for fans of the murder mystery genre.
The Killing Game Way
How do The Killing Game murder mysteries work?
We utilise a format that satisfies both requirements of a good murder mystery event. Firstly, our events are written to keep sleuths happy. They include a sequence of scripted scenes that are performed throughout the event, usually right in the middle of the audience (yes, you could be standing next to an argument or even a fight when it breaks out!). Carefully constructed clues are provided and the actors are briefed with a comprehensive array of information so that they can be reliably interrogated by the audience. Information can be obtained from the actors, from the clues and from the scenes; the more you dig, the more you find out. There is always only one way that the mystery can be solved and it is never simply "made up on the night", as some companies will do.
Secondly, we aim to entertain. The scenes will allow several stories to unfold across the course of the event, with plot developing as the scenes progress. The audience, by their interactions with the actors, become "part of the story" and can even help progress it!
How much do I have to "join in"?
As much (or as little) as you want to:
If you'd prefer to simply watch the plot unfold and enjoy the show, that's fine.
If you like to be the armchair detective, watching, studying clues and taking notes, feel free.
If you'd rather try out your interrogation techniques and hound the actors for the whole event, trying to catch them out and following them when they slip out of the room, you're more than welcome to.
If you enjoy role-playing and like to weave yourself into the plot to try and gain the characters' trust, we're happy to have you along!
We don't insist on the audience having character backgrounds (though we'll provide you with some basic information if you wish to use it) and we certainly don't want to force people to behave in a specific way. We'd much rather you had fun in the way you feel most comfortable with. That way, everyone has a good time and gets to solve a complex, logically constructed murder mystery at the same time.