Reviews

Our name must be getting around out there. Customers have witnessed our Murder Mysteries throughout Northern California, from San Francisco to San Jose, including the East Bay, North Bay and South Bay. We’ve received a good deal of press from folks who have enjoyed a good old-fashioned night of Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre. If you come across a review that is not listed below, please email us and let us know. We’d love to add to the collection.

LOEL Center Murder Mystery Wine Dinner, June 27, 2010

The LOEL Center held its seventh annual murder mystery wine dinner on June 26. About 120 people attended, who enjoyed a gourmet dinner catered by Black Tie Gourmet, a live auction by Ogren’s Auction and a chance to figure out the murder mystery.

Kim Smith, event and site manager of the LOEL Center, said the event was very well attended and there were some newer faces, as well as those who have attended in the past.

“We really appreciate the Lodi community for supporting our annual fundraiser,” she said.

Channel 30 Television, Pleasanton, CA, October, 2005

View a local television review of our Maltese Crow Dinner show in Pleasanton, CA.

by Samie Hartley

Pittsburg Dinner Theatre ReviewPittsburg Newspaper, September 30, 2005
by Anna Sanders

“…Every other month, a night is set aside at the Liberty Hotel for murder of the most entertaining kind, served up along with a dinner to die for. Built in 1922, the brick Victorian-style hotel with its vaulted ceilings, stained-glass-accented windows and antique chandeliers, offers an ideal setting for a theatrical visit to the Wild West. As the audience is seated in the dinner area, Western-clad cast members mosey in, introducing themselves and start doing what they do best—dropping hints…”

“…It’s all played out between the three-course dinner, and the audience gets into the act by reading clues out loud as well as guessing who did the murderous acts. There are prizes for the team at each table that guess who the culprit is, and by the end of dessert, the mystery is solved…”

View the full article (.jpg 420K)

The Stanford Daily, January 7, 2005 by Katherine Li

If you have ever thought of taking your date to dinner and then the theatre(for those are you who are ultra-classy), rest assured that there is now an even more chic option that combines both: Mystery dining that involves a murder.

As I was ushered into a room at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel in San Mateo, I knew at once that this would not be a typical dinner. Instead of the soft candlelight and large black stage I was expecting, there were several large round tables stationed themselves throughout the brightly lit room. I found myself seated at a circular table with seven women, all old enough to be my mom, and one misplaced youngster whose boyish looks made him look five instead of 13. Immediately, a man with a tall chef’s hat and white apron came cheerfully bounding up to the table and introduced himself as “Chef Fredo.” He would be taking care of the food during our last night aboard our fictitious cruise ship, the S.S. Amore. I eyed him suspiciously. Was he the real chef? Was he going to bring our food? Could I ask him if the salad to be served contained nuts? For a moment, reality and fantasy confounded themselves within my reason and I was quite sure I was a passenger having dinner on a cruise.

The performance began… [read full dinner theatre article]

Benicia Dinner Show ReviewWeekender Magazine, March 2000

“Murder Among The Stars” is on the menu at Gina’s Benicia Bay Restaurant every Saturday night. Opening night, Feb. 12th, was greeted with several after-scene applause, and the laughs just kept coming. The Gibson House Mystery Performers, directed by local John Gibson, have found a home in historic Benicia. Alex Torres, as “Taurus,” was spellbinding as he informed the guests that the real cast of the “little mystery play” were “stuck in Lodi again”. However, the famous “Madame Zodiac”, hilariously played by Lisa Book-Williams graciously consents to speak in their absence. Unfortunately, Madame Zodiac dies right before our eyes, and Jonathan Caplan as Security Guard “Horace Cope” tries to solve the crime. Caplan nearly steals the show, as he bungles his way through the clues. Serena Gibson-Torres, as “Gemini”, comes off best as the scatterbrained secretary of “Madame Zodiac”, while Gary Hinton, as “Dr. Leo Turnbull” is the perfect heckler among the crowd.

Napa Valley Dinner Show ReviewNapaValley Register, July 14, 2000by Sasha Paulsen

It’s not on the menu, but Misto Restaurant is serving up an excellent portion of ham on Friday nights.It’s the GibsonHouse Players’ production of “murder on the Sea of Love,” delivered in three-courses as well as three-acts; you might call it a murder to dine for.

It is, of course, all in very good taste.The restaurant becomes, for the evening the SS Amore, a disaster-prone Italian honeymoon cruise ship, inhabited by a wild collection of characters, all hamming it up with gusto: a sort of “At Bertram’s Hotel,” meets “Monty Python.”

Many of the local thespians in the mystery are veterans of Dreamweavers’ productions. For the evening they become Tilly and Al, and Bambi and Joey, passengers on the ill-fated ship. Tilly is an aging dancer, fluttering about in scarves, hampered only by the fact that she has lost her hearing aid in an unfortunate incident when she was trapped on a life raft with six poodles; Al, her husband, is a humorless ex-detective, who is not amused by the onboard antics. Bambi, a bimbo, is honeymooning with Joey, a smooth-talking owner of shoe stores. Joey, however, was once romantically involved with Gina, the stressed-out activities director for the ship. Gina, when she is not sending off fireworks at the lovebirds, is kept busy coping with, covering for (and dallying with) the handsome, amorous, and semi-idiotic Capt. Giovanni (“Don’t tell me about problems; I’m the happy guy.”) Add to this mix Fredo, a mad cook making ice sculptures of whales, and what can you come up with but murder? All this is served up with a three-course meal, beginning at 8:3- p.m., Fridays, after the closing of the Napa Chef’s Market.

I dropped by with my two children on a Friday evening and we got our first taste of what was in store when Bambi slithered in the front door on the arm of Joey, and up to our table where she proceeded to gush and dither while Joey preened. My kids, who are 10 and 12, are used to going to all sorts of odd events with me, but as Bambi and Joey strutted off to visit other diners, and Tilly wafted in, trailing scarves, holding an ear trumpet, followed by her glowering Al, Sam, looked at me and murmured, “Now for something completely different, Mom.”

Five minutes later, Gina had signed them up for the ship’s talent show. This show-within-a-show is provided by the diners, at least those who want to make spectacles of themselves. This particular night disclosed an impressive array of hidden talents in the diners: One man recited a passage from “Julius Caesar,” and another did imitations of Nixon,. A woman danced, outdoing even Tilly, but then she didn’t have to carry an ear trumpet. Sam and Ariel told jokes, and won a prize, a detective’s magnifying glass to help solve the mystery. They didn’t figure it out, but then neither did anyone else in the restaurant. The closest guess was the person who said the meatloaf did it.

Far be it from me to disclose who it is that staggers out of the kitchen, between the main course and dessert, splattered with — is it blood or is it tomato sauce? As for who did it — you’ll have to see the show. It’s a farce, it’s inane, and it’s rollicking good fun.

Times-Herald GibsonHouse ReviewTimes-Herald, April 25, 2000 by Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

There’s going to be murder and mayhem on the Napa Riverall summer, and residents and tourists alike couldn’t be happier about it. That’s because, in this case, the Play’s the thing, as Benicia’s GibsonHouse Mystery Performers team up with the California Wine Ship to offer Mystery Dinner Cruises. Beginning May 5, the mystery dinner troupe, which has been performing regularly at Gina’s Benicia Bay Restaurant since February, will be taking its act on the road (or on the water as the case may be), offering a dining/theater experience on an authentic paddlewheel river boat cruising along the Napa River. Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer, guests who have bought their $59 tickets, will board the California Wine Ship at the ferry terminal in Vallejo for a two-hour cruise and three-course dinner, where they will try to figure out “Who Done It” from their seats in the ship’s 96-seat formal dining room on the top deck. Boarding begins at 6:30 p.m. for a cast-off at 7:30 p.m.

“Around 7:30, some interesting characters will begin appearing on the ship, and encouraging people to go into the formal dining room,” said GibsonHouse director, John Gibson. “These will be the performers in character. This is Mystery Dinner Theater, so the premise is that a murder is committed — sometimes two, and the guests have to guess who the culprit is. Solution cards are distributed to the guests, and points are earned for prizes. Guests are not only entertained by a great mystery play, but enjoy a great three-course meal at the same time.”

Gibson explained that the entire dining area serves as the stage, as the actors perform the fully-scripted, interactive plays, dropping clues within the dialogue.

“Guests don’t have to travel around the boat looking for clues,” Gibson said, “and there are written clues, like newspapers, to be found on the tables, as well.”

One of Gibson’s 100 or so performers from around the Bay Area hit on the idea of the collaboration while taking one of the California Wine Ship’s regular cruises back in April. The subject of the Mystery Dinner Cruise was broached with the ship’s owner, who contacted Gibson, and the partnership was born.

“A lot of thought and groundwork has gone into this,” Gibson said, “and this is unique in the area. There is something similar on the Sacramento Delta, but that ship never moves. This is the first one to actually move up and don the Napa River. It’s going to be fun. I think it’s exciting.”

The plays performed are all original works, using a wide variety of plots, each “full of intrigue, jealousy, treachery, suspicion, greed, love triangles and suspense,” he added, “they’re all farcical, fun, interactive and always in good taste.”

The California Wine ship is docked at the Vallejo Waterfront, next to the Ferry Terminal, 295 Mare Island Way in Vallejo. For reservations, call (800) 750-7501.

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