Expositor scribe pens Murder Mystery dinner theatre

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LITTLE CURRENT—When cruise ships visit the Port of Little Current during the summer months, many will imagine the relaxation and wonderful sights that can only be experienced through spending time on the waters of the Great Lakes. Few will imagine the bucolic setting turning into the scene of a dastardly crime, but that’s exactly what transpires in the Espanola Little Theatre (ELT)’s upcoming murder mystery dinner show, ‘Death on the Inland Seas.’

“I have participated in a number of Espanola Little Theatre productions over the years, including two of the fundraising murder mystery productions in Whitefish Falls,” said author Michael Erskine. “When ELT president Warren Tilston asked me to write the murder mystery for this season’s production I jumped at the chance—then I discovered just how much work it actually is to put together something like this,” he added ruefully.

Mr. Erskine might be more used to covering the hard-hitting weekly news action found within the pages of this very newspaper, but that doesn’t mean he cannot stretch his talents to other genres, too. In fact, his day job pounding the pavement around the Island has inspired the setting for the production.

“The mystery takes part at the Anchor Inn Hotel, where coincidently an amateur detective society (aka the audience) is gathered for their annual dinner and their aid is enlisted to unveil the culprit,” ELT director Dario Laurenti revealed. “The murder itself takes place on one of the many cruise ships that visit the Island in the summer and, if all goes as planned and it certainly has in the past, some hilarious skullduggery will ensue as the audience grills the suspects to discover not only the clues they intend to give out, but to wheedle out the bits that they want to conceal. In the murder mystery format, each of the eight suspects is played by one of the ELT troupe who drop clues throughout the evening while visiting the diners’ tables. The format has proven to be a winner with folks in the past and it is wonderful to be working with such a talented group of people.”

The ELT crew consists of several veteran actors from the troupe’s productions, including Mr. Laurenti, Theresa Laurenti, Mike Boivin, Mr. Erskine, Tammy Sheppard, Mr. Tilston, Pat Poikkmaki, Angie Scheel and Helen Landry. “All of these folks have been working very hard over the past several weeks to put together what we hope will be the best show yet,” said Mr. Laurenti.

“At the end of the evening, the audience members at each table debate among themselves as to who they think committed the murder and select the guilty member (or members) of the cast. Then each member of the cast gets up to deliver their own confession, with the final reveal being who actually committed the murder.”

This reporter is not at the liberty of discussing exactly what happened aboard the cruise ship on that fateful day. However, the production will undoubtedly offer a myriad of surprise twists and turns that will leave the audience on the edge of their seats—that is, when they’re not enjoying the delectable spread of buffet food offerings.

The murder mystery dinner theatre will take place at 6 pm in the Anchor Inn Hotel bar on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13 and is an adult licenced event. The $45 ticket price includes both the buffet meal and the entertainment, but drinks are extra. Tickets can be reserved by contacting the Anchor Inn Restaurant at 705-368-2023.