Review: 'Limited Engagement'
Engagement parties take a lot of planning and need a good planner to pull it off. So Imagine with the greeting of guests, serving dinner and making speeches, a murder, or two, happened? Well if you attend "Limited Engagement" MO Productions Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre production at The Broker Restaurant, that's what you will get.
It is a slightly uneven evening. As with a lot of interactive theatre the show begins as you walk into the venue. Frankie Dazzle (Dan Bergman) , the wedding consultant, is already running around making sure everything is just so. We also briefly meet Lilly White (Giovanna Leah), the bride to be along with her fiance' Dirk Forrester (Matthew D. Osmun). Of course things aren't going quite as smoothly as they would like them to go. We get to chat briefly with them as some "guests" are given scripts. Not only is this a Murder Mystery Dinner, it is a very interactive one.
After the salad and main course are finished, the mayhem begins. We meet Rose (Susan Rossman), Lilly's mother, and Taylor ( A role that is rotated among guest performers. On our night it was played by award winning radio personality turned actress, Jennifer Wilde). Soon, skeletons start to fly out of the closet and before you know it, someone is dead right before dessert is served.
"Limited Engagement" is a fun night but could be more so with a bit of tightening up. It may work better to have the restaurant staff pass out the scripts to those chosen by the cast. They are in and out of the dining area before the meal is served to decide who they want to participate. The scripts could easily be delivered with the main course. The cast is very good at ad-libbing but tend to break character when a guest/audience member goes off-script. There are approximately 6 people who participate. A lot to keep up with but the cast should be prepared when someone decides to add their own dialogue and be able to bring the scene back around smoothly. The show is also peppered with songs. With the exception of Ms. Wilde's perfectly manic deliverance of Pat Benatar's "One Way or Another", the songs tend to bring the action to an almost halt along with the extended time to eat dessert.
The performances, for the most part, are a lot of fun. Ms. Leah is definitely the standout cast member. Her Lilly is engaging to watch and interact with. Mr. Bergman's Frankie is the swishy party planner. He is quite amusing although a bit stereotypical at times. Mr. Osmun's husband to be sometimes comes off as if he is the bride to be and not the ladies man jest setter that Dirk is supposed to be. Since Mo Productions is his baby as well as being the Playwright, Produce and director, he seems to have more on his mind than just playing the character. Susan Rossman as Rose plays the part of the mother beautifully and when we very first meet her, we know she is not the perfect mother!
All in all, it is an entertaining evening. A great restaurant staff also adds to the fun. The show is well written with twists and turns and at the end "the guests" get to figure out whodunit. The person who figures it out, or is the closest to figuring it out, gets a nice gift bag at the end. (I figured it out and got the bag!)
MO Productions is relatively new to the Denver theatre scene and with a bit more experience and maybe someone on hand to handle technical aspects so the actors are free to act, I am sure they will be around for a while to come.
For reservations you can contact The Broker Restaurant at 303-292-5065. For more information on MO Productions and their other shows, visit www.moproductions.net. "Limited Engagement" will play The Broker Restaurant again on November 13, 2010.
Dan Bergman, Susan Rossman & Matthew D. Osmun
Giovanna Leah & Matthew D. Osmun
The cast dances with the guests
Greg is very happy to be reporting from Denver on Broadway World!