“Minnie’s Merry Murder Christmas” delivered laughs aplenty with a Christmas-themed murder mystery that had a local feel with references to Wilton Manors.
The play took place on Dec. 14 at the Center for Spiritual Living in Oakland Park. It touches on mature themes.
Miss Minnie Bouvee, played by Eric Swanson, is hosting a Christmas party where her lover Jacque De Cocque, played by Larry Buzzeo, is impaled during a power outage caused by an avalanche. The power outage serves to allow the murder to take place with the audience and the party guests none the wiser as to who the culprit is. The remaining guests aim to figure out who the murderer is, helped by a detective named Bruce Goodwood who is played by the same actor who played the now dead lover. The cast of eccentric characters includes former convict for murder Ruby Belcher, played by Jennifer McClain as well as daughter and heiress Esme, played by Christopher Calhoun. The remaining cast is butler Bottomsby, played by Benjamin Shaevitz.
Swanson played the dual role as both the lead actor and the play’s producer.
“They’re [murder mysteries] so unique,” Swanson said. “Not a lot of people in this area are doing them and murder mysteries at Christmas are nonexistent. We just wanted to offer something different.”
The play was written by Robert Leleux and the titular character was created as a collaboration between Leleux and Swanson.
“He actually helped create the character of Miss Bouvee,” Swanson said. “[…] We created her together. And he’s written several shows for me since. He is a playwright extraordinaire.”
Bouvee is from New Orleans and her Southern accent was prevalent throughout the show. The contrast of a classy Southern Belle and the messy situation of a murder at her party presented an irony I found delightful. The play sprouted several comedic one liners, such as being prompted to hurry because “Tequila Sunrise stops pouring alcohol at 10”, referencing the Mexican restaurant just down the block from the venue. The plot was engaging and the dialogue witty, leading to a surprise ending when the murderer was revealed.
If you missed the last showing, you still have a chance to catch it on Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Swanson offers some thoughts on why audience members should come to the show.
“It’s nice to have some variety at the holidays. A lot of people, they have a lot of concert options and several churches, several theaters,” Swanson said. “For the murder mystery is so different and sometimes you just want to laugh at the holidays. You need the laughter to get through the holidays and I think this show really presents a good contrasting variety to what’s going on in the area.”
Tickets are on sale NOW at www.missbouvee.com . All tickets, $30. Center for Spiritual Living,
4849 N Dixie HWY, Oakland park, FL 33334. Seating is general theatrical seating. Doors open
30 minutes prior to each show.
Mary Rasura is a junior multimedia journalism student from Florida Atlantic University minoring in computer science. She is excited to review theater shows and write feature stories for South Florida Theater magazine, as she believes art is what makes life worth living.