Death By Chocolate

Dransfield House, 335 Willis St, Wellington

04/09/2009 - 27/09/2009

Production Details

Death By Chocolate, an interactive murder mystery with chocolate tasting is a international award winning show combining interactive theatre + murder + chocolate = Cluedo without a board!

Can you solve this crime?

WhoDunnit Events presents:
Death By Chocolate
an interactive murder mystery with chocolate tasting

Winner: Best Special Event Award, Melbourne Fringe 2007
Sold out: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Sold out: Adelaide Fringe 2008
Sold out: Melbourne Fringe 2007

Chocolate + Murder + Interactive

Buy your ticket and immediately begin your interactive experience. Become a student detective and start testing your skills online right away.
Then attend the live event where you enjoy two hours of interrogating the suspects, sampling chocolate, swapping notes, and riffling through evidence. Complete the night with an accusation, but it’s not over yet!
Continue the case online where you can ask more question, decode more clues, and revel in online discussion, until the murderer is uncovered and arrested.

It’s a murder at a chocolate-themed singles night… can you solve WhoDunnit? Interview the suspects, sample the chocolates, solve the crime – it’s all up to you.

"Involving… far too easy to get caught up in the whole drama"
The Age ( Australia )

"The most amazing theatrical experience ever… I will definitely be back"
Channel 4’s Laura Marks ( UK )

"Audience pleaser… I can attest that the crowd thoroughly enjoyed themselves"
The Scotsman ( UK )

Additional Information

Wellington 2009 ensemble: Aisha Pachoud, Amalia Calder, Ban Abdul, Brylee Lamb, Ella Kahu, Kerina Deas, Matt Clayton, Robert Hickey, and Thomas Rimmer.
Chocolate provided by: Bohemein (formerly Melting Perfection Chocolatier), located at 35 Waitoa Rd , Hataitai, and 109 Featherston St , Wellington CBD
Multiple attendances are appropriate and welcome.
Suitable for mature audiences.
Access requirements accommodated wherever possible.
Death By Chocolate: an interactive murder mystery with chocolate tasting is an original work by Vanessa B Baylen. This is an all new version for Wellington and a New Zealand debut.

4 – 27 September 2009
Thursday-Sunday, 7.00pm
Venue: Dransfield House, 335 Willis St , Wellington
Cost: $38 Full, $30 Student

WhoDunnit Events supports local communities by including local actors and chocolatiers.

Vanessa B Baylen is the founder of WhoDunnit Events (formerly IMMI HQ), and invented the genre of Interactive Murder Mystery Investigations (IMMIs). She is at the head of every project, and has created 4 versions of Death By Chocolate so far, along with 4 other IMMIs. Canadian-born dual citizen, Vanessa called Australia home for ten years, but she now cherishes her newest home of New Zealand .
"I was blown away with the professionalism and sheer ingenuity of this concept! It was a magnificent few hours that went by all too quickly… an experience you must not miss"
ScotsGay ( UK )

Alison "Allie" Gull - Kerina Deas
Beverley Hylskop - Robert Hickey
Cassandra "Kaz" Enova - Ban Abdul
Ivanna "Coco" Noe - Ella Kahu
Jack Azz - Thomas Rimmer
Justin Case - Matt Clayton
Pearl Harber - Aisha Pachoud
Susan "Sue" Tuble - Amalia Calder
Tamara "Tam" Artow - Brylee Lamb

Creative Consultant - Brylee Lamb
Rehearsal Assistant - Adam Bradshaw
Chocolate - Bohemein Fresh Chocolates
Flash Games - Neroli Wesley & David Pritchard
Articles - Kate Scarlett, Philip Patston, John Nugent Jr
Website Design - Caspian Ievers
Website Build - Brandon Stewart
Photos - Annabel Carberry & Vanessa B Baylen
Photoshop - Adam Bradshaw & Vanessa B Baylen
Publicist - Brianne Kerr
Sponsorship Liaison - Brylee Lamb

Casting Assistant - Brylee Lamb
General Assistants - Brylee Lamb & Adam Bradshaw 

Sweet, poisonous murder puzzle

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 07th Sep 2009

If you ever dreamed of being Inspector Morse or Miss Marples or, heaven help you, Inspector Barnaby then now’s your chance, except you won’t be sleuthing in a pretty English village but in the faux Edwardian splendours of Dransfield House.

The body of a Mr. AJ Oak, who had been attending a chocolate-themed singles night, has been found in the house. He may have been murdered by chocolate tainted with the poisonous sap of Deliciousa Toxica. He may not be, we are warned, the intended victim.

There are eight suspects who have been confined to the house and their personal possessions and the contents of their pockets have been confiscated and placed in trays for the would-be detectives to sift through looking for clues.

Once this has been explained and everyone is given a pen and notebook interactive theatre takes over for the next two hours. The personal possessions are picked over for clues and the suspects can be interviewed, cross-questioned or simply observed.

They are a queer lot. The organizer of the event is Coco, a bit of a party girl who adorns herself with gypsy accessories, then there’s Jack who is a sex-and-money obsessed creep, Justin the smiling carer of wheelchair-bound Allie, victim of a car accident (or was it?), the exotic and slightly eccentric Kaz, and three very troubled young women: Sue, Tam, and Pearl.

Then the single sleuths or group detectives all get together and come to a consensus on who is the culprit. The culprit is brought in and, of course, denies everything. Then we are told that we will have to wait for the real culprit to be revealed when the season is over and it will be announced on-line and in the media. However, you can find more clues and ask extra questions at a secret web site.

I’m afraid I’m one of those people who want the puzzle solved ‘now’, but just about everyone else at the opening session seemed happy to keep on sleuthing. The suspects were very convincing – too convincing in the case of three troubled young women – I really didn’t feel like intruding into their lives so forbidding, withdrawn and disturbed did they appear, but then I wouldn’t make a good detective.

The chocolates (poison free) were delicious, thanks to Bohemein.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 



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Evidence, chocolates and suspects

Review by Maryanne Cathro 05th Sep 2009

Chocolate and a murder mystery? It’s a combination tailor made to get my attendance! I am a dedicated whodunnit fan, and the chance to play Miss Marple, or perhaps Hercule Poirot, is too good to miss.

On arrival at Dransfield House, we are given an ID lanyard, a pen and a notebook with information and spaces to write notes on each suspect, and shown into the bar. A room labelled Suspects Holding Room with glass doors reveals glimpses of a group of anxious individuals. A table of the most exquisite chocolates is a promise of things to come.

When everyone has arrived, we are shown into the Briefing room and Detective Beverley (Bev) Hylskop (Robert Hickey) takes command of us student detectives. I am a bit phased to find we have two hours of just talking to suspects, looking at evidence etc with no central interrogation. It’s been a long week after all. However we are let loose on the evidence, the chocolates and the suspects. Or in my case, chocolates first. Priorities! Participants fall on all three with equal enthusiasm, formulating theories and eager to interrogate the suspects to put them to the test.

There are eight suspects, all with very definite characters. Not one of them lost their character in the face of a barrage of sometimes quite bizarre questions and accusations. Rooting through people’s bags in the Evidence room turns up a range of possible leads, and my particular favourite theory turns out quite difficult to verify. A few encouraging words from Detective Bev to keep trying sends me back into the fray but to no end. Poirot makes it all look so simple!

Strangers start to bond over shared revelations, suspects feel the tension and start to break out into loud and revealing conflicts. After an hour or so I find my attention and my energy flagging in spite of the sugar and cocoa fuel. (Really, I cannot recommend highly enough the opportunity to eat as many of Bohemein’s wares as you want. I am a long standing worshipper at the altar of this chocolatier whose pineapple and black pepper chocolate is the Food of the Gods.)

In the end, we are all gathered in again to share our theories with Bev and reach a consensus. I found out a few whopping facts that I hadn’t twigged to earlier and am disappointed I couldn’t dive back in. But eventually someone is found guilty and our findings noted. And that is that! Where is the closure?!

It turns out that this is only the beginning, we are all given secret access to a website that allows us to carry on the investigation afterwards. At the time I felt this was unsatisfying but I just spent a good half hour on the website and it is great. My disappointment has turned to being pretty impressed by the overall value of the ticket price.

I am tempted to go again later in the season when more evidence has come forth online. Having said that, I really would have liked a stock take of evidence gathered about an hour into it, to refocus and remotivate the student detectives. We are after all, beginners.

The suspects were all amazingly proficient improvisers who had their back stories in place and stuck to them. The trouble is, none of them are nice people and after a rather objectionable exchange with a key suspect, I was too scared to talk to her again. Likewise two of the characters were so morose and clearly resented being questioned they were off-putting and noticeably fewer students were questioning them. All power to them achieving such credibility but I felt that a little less character and a little more civility would make the event work better for the paying guests.

Taking away the fourth wall is a challenge to both performers and audience, as there are no rules of engagement. That is the thrill of this kind of interactive event, and also the risk. I have absolutely no doubt at all that the next performance (if that is the right word?) will have benefited from the cast’s first outing with a genuine public group and the characterisations will settle down.

I really do think I will go again, and not just for the pineapple and black pepper chocolates!
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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