A Criminal Christmas Caper

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The Belfrey Hotel, offers a unique respite from the bustling tourist scene of Torquay, and is run by Mr. and Mrs. Bookin, who retain a small staff and strive for a family atmosphere (in other words, there’s lots of arguing).This evening, the Bookin’s have welcomed local residents (as they have no guests) for a traditional Christmas meal. Unfortunately, at the start of the festivities, the man supposed to be playing Santa for the evening is discovered dead in his room. Ruling out food poisoning, it can only mean one thing: Santa has been murdered!

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The Cast:

Ivor Bookin – Hotel Manager
Tall and fond of melodrama, Ivor would really enjoy running a hotel if it wasn’t for the guests who keep getting in the way!

Phyllis Bookin – Hotel Manageress
Sharp, petite and energetic, Phyllis has a shrill voice and barking laugh, but is extremely good in a crisis.

Silvia Service
– Waitress
Good natured and seemingly a voice of sanity amongst the chaos at The Belfrey Hotel, Silvia is a helpful soul and always puts herself out for other people.

Vinnie De’Tableau – Waiter
Well meaning, but disorganised and often confused, Vinnie De’Tableau comes from Barcelona and has a limited grasp of the English language.

Cathy Terize
– The local District Nurse
Buxom and friendly, Cathy Terize is always in uniform and always on duty, regardless of the season.

How this format of large group script works

If you’re looking for a murder mystery evening which supplies entertaining sleuthing while you dine, then our Dinner Theatre style murder mystery evenings are just what you are looking for.

Each mystery is designed to be run in one room within a hotel/restaurant setting during a three course meal.

There are five suspects (the cast). One murder occurs before the event (the discovery of the body usually begins the evening) and one murder occurs mid-way through the evening. The dead body usually comes back as the inspector for the denouement. You can have a separate actor play this role if you prefer.

A stage manager is also useful for this type of script.

These mysteries are written as interactive dinner theatre with a series of scripts as well as interactive questioning by the guests. The emphasis is fun and melodrama and the plays require an experienced set of actors to learn back story. This style of script is NOT for novice actors due to the amount of line learning, and requirement to be confident ad-libbing.

A good team of actors will usually need between 4-6 rehearsals, OR to learn the scripts and back story in advance and an intensive afternoon of rehearsals on the day before the show.

The plots require props and often theatre blood. These props are often not too difficult to obtain. It’s usually things like knives, glasses, guns (fake obviously!), and small stage props e.g. handbags. Sound effects are also often minimal. Though some plots do benefit from having access to a starter pistol.

2 reviews for A Criminal Christmas Caper

  1. Following on from the success of ‘Pizza, Passion and Pasta’ in March, we were invited back by our host restaurant to produce another Murder Mystery at Christmas and ‘A Criminal Christmas Caper’ was the obvious choice! We ran the Murder Mystery across five nights and the restaurant provided a traditional three-course Christmas meal with after dinner coffee and mince pies, which worked exceptionally well with the script. The event was a complete sell-out by the end of September and got rave reviews from audience members and there were a lot of disappointed people that hadn’t bought tickets in time! It is an extremely funny script and a great homage to Fawlty Towers, with lots of slapstick and running around and we had lots of fun both rehearsing and performing it. We added three Christmas songs to the script and provided the audience with the words for two of these so that they could join – which they did with gusto! We chose a cheesy version of ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ for Phyllis to lead at the beginning of Round Two and a solo version of ‘All I Want for Christmas’ for Ivor to sing in Round Four when he’s left alone ‘on stage’ by nurse Cathy Terize. We finished off with ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ at the very end of the evening when the murder has been solved which rounded off the evening really well. We also changed Vinnie’s place of origin from Milan to Wolverhampton which doesn’t come to light until Round Six during ‘The Solution’. This caused a lot of hilarity amongst the audience members as well as some gasps of shock! As we are all amateur actors anyway, it wasn’t problematic for us to learn our lines. We were also very familiar with our character backgrounds in order to answer the audience’s questions, although this was embellished on considerably, as was the script, especially by the fifth evening!! If you would like to see photos from our version of ‘A Criminal Christmas Caper’, they can be found on our website which is http://www.kitkatproductions.co.uk – I highly recommend this script to anyone wanting to put on a cast based Christmas murder mystery. As previously, we were also really impressed with the quality of material supplied in addition to the script itself, which gives you everything you need to put on a really fun evening! I hope that Red Herring Games brings out another Christmas script soon though as we’ve already been asked to perform another Murder Mystery for Christmas 2013!!

  2. Finally we have done our charity Murder Mystery evening. The feedback was brilliant – everyone had a fab time, cast, crew and guests. Was a bit unfortunate (for me) that I was the one who was murdered (bearing in mind I was the director) but thankfully my angel wings came in handy for making a reappearance. I mean, I was a saint to put up with Ivor as a husband after all. I would not discuss the plot after my reappearance unless they were psychic and could therefore communicate with the dead! We changed the name of Vinnie Pimplehoffen to Vinnie Garr (as we were having a fish and chip supper) and wrote in that we weren’t having the xmas dinner as the chef was drunk in the kitchen -again! I do believe that I am now the reincarnation of Sybill Fawlty! Again great game and fabulous service, we will use you again! x

Add a review

We can customise this game.  However, sadly we do have to charge for this service as even minor customisations take between 1-2 hours to process in the office and we need to buy toilet roll and biscuits as much as the next person…

It’s hard to give “ball park” figures for what different customisations would cost however we’ve attempted to HERE.

Remember… if you just need 1 extra person, or 1 less person, why not add in the inspector as your extra guest.  The inspector can usually be male or female as the “for real” inspector can simply invent a new name for themselves.

Some hosts prefer to play the inspector role as it means they can work on the catering while the round plays out amongst their guests.

Purchase Options

Earn up to 259 Loyalty Points.

This game is rated Teen
This game contains:

Content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.

Murder - Two murders are undertaken, so violence is suggested.
Suggestive Themes - Mild provocative references or materials, love tangles mentioned within a marital relationship, but non-sexual in nature.


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Flexible and fun!

We contacted Red-Herring-Games for a party for a special occasion. Why going to restaurants to eat is the preferred activity to mark milestones is beyond me and my friends.   The choice of mystery was obvious, looking at the options from New Zealand on the web Red Herring stuck out from the international options.  A quick look at the site and games showed subtlety as well a range of choices.  The numbers you could have for each evening was important,  Red Herring had scaling options a good range of scenarios but most importantly were Jo and team being flexible, responsive and helpful.

Rachel McWilliam, Arts Development Officer, Lincs Inspire

Thank you Red Herring Games for the marvellous 'Murder!  Cargo Connections?' event that you organised for us as part of Museums at Night at the Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby. The whole evening went so well and was brilliant fun.  I know from all the feedback that our visitors had a fantastic time. It was really good working with you and I have no doubt that we will do again in the not too distant future.  

A. Nonymous (council employee)

I would like to thank you and your colleague for helping contribute towards our successful conference last month.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy the evening and it was rewarding that so many delegates were able to participate in addition to the main "Actors".  Our conference evaluation froms included the following comments:
  • "Enjoyed the evening entertainment!"
  • The evening entertainment was great and the confusion made it great fun!"
With thanks and best wishes.

Sarah Spencer (Cleethorpes Chronicle)

I had no idea what to expect before purchasing a ticket for Old, New, Borrowed, Blue, which was being staged at a nearby hotel, and feared it might involve taking part in some way. However thankfully for me no acting was necessary, just some amateur sleuthing. "Wedding guests" of which I was one, were called upon to move from room to room in the hotel in groups, questioning a number of possible murderers with the aim of solving the mystery of the dead bridegroom. The interviewees were really fun characters and gave us all some good laughs. Of course they all had motives and it was a case of identifying the shiftiest. The wedding theme was particularly good, as it fitted well with the venue, the buffet that was part of the evening (with a wedding cake in the middle) and the fact that everyone had been able to dress up to fit in without going to the trouble of fancy dress. I didn't think I had enough "evidence" to actually accuse anyone but later regretted not even writing down my first guess as it wouldn't have been too far off the mark. The evening was great fun and everyone seemed to enjoy it and take part. I would definitely recommend Old, New, Borrowed, Blue as good for getting even reluctant or first-time mystery party-goers involved.  

Alan Young (Personal Touch Mortgages)

What a cracking nights entertainment! We don't get out much nowadays with 2 kids and this was exactly what we were looking for in a good night out. Lots of fun with tongue firmly in cheek and everyone kept guessing whodunnit right to the very end. Would definitely attend another!!!!!  


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