Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Murder Mystery at The Western Steakhouse

There was blood on the night of May 23rd at The Western Steakhouse in Crowne Plaza SZR, and not just from the rare steaks. The campy immersion murder mystery, performed by the Dubai Drama Group actors amidst diners' tables, has been one of the group's signature performances in Dubai. The previous one, performed with the Emirates Festival of Literature, was sold out within no time, so I booked early for this one.

Western attire was recommended, and often seen on diners' persons that night. Each act was performed before, between and after the meal package's three courses, during which the actors would amble around tables and chat with diners in character.

After the characters were introduced in the first act, the relationships among  them were revealed and potential motivations for murder were exposed - from business ambitions, to unrequited love, to domineering attitudes. The first corpse hit the floor before the main course, and the rest of the play was filled with accusations and counter-accusations, as well as a second murder to raise the stakes. Before the murderer's identity was revealed at the end of the play, an audience vote was taken on who they think it might be. I was way off; I should have gone for a more obvious choice.

Each character portrayed an archetype, with Salman Qureshi doing a great job as a lovelorn kid, and Lamya Tawfik as a jolly but wily agent. Gold stars also to Sarah Murphy for pulling off an American-ish accent; we had only one actual American, namely seasoned actor Brent Jenkins, in the cast. Diners would be pulled up for a dance or a playful interrogation from time to time, mostly preceding the introductory act before the starters; this added a nice, engaging  touch to the event.

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