Last Saturday, December 1928, Lord Quiten Daventry hosted his annual party bash. Not knowing him in person, I had a business proposition to make – that he sell his manor house so I, the baron Gerhaard Haase, Swedish property tycoon, could transform it into a hotel and a breeding site for my geese. Lovely weather, Britain, for geese breeding. No comedy festival event has ever had me travel in time and play a part in a 1920s whodunit. That is, until ‘A Dinner to Die For‘. I came accompanied by my +1, the Baroness Agnetha. A singing icon, she was eager to bring Swedish pop music to Europe. You had to be there to hear her rendition of ‘Dancing Queen' to all present.
The thirty odd guests had barely sat down when a couple of young ladies next to us started fighting to win the love of Captain Montague ‘Monty’ Smeley-Downes, himself infuriated that his love interest, Miss Fanny, got engaged to our host. Our entrée arrived and a body is found on the stairs – poor Uncle Bernie – loved more for his money than for his bawdy chauvinistic humour. All the main characters (the actors running the story) had a motive…and the rest of the night unfolded with séances, sing-a-longs, a 1920s ‘the price is right’ game, body parts, and non-stop hilarity.
‘A Dinner to Die For' is part ‘how to host a murder’, part play, part dress-up. The party guests each are allocated a role, and a bit of information relating to the many wacky sub-plots, should they choose to play along. That night, everyone did. The costumes were amazing. Top hats, flapper dresses, long gloves, pearls, and my dapper burgundy velvet jacket. The intimate setting of The Retreat Hotel in Abbotsford (itself a bit of a relic of the past) made it all very immersive. Highly recommended!
Christian G. is an international man of mystery; lover of books, cats and the performing arts; moonlighting as a finance professional by day.
‘A Dinner To Die For' ran 2, 9, and 16 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
It next returns on Saturday 30 July at The Retreat Hotel. Buy tickets now.