Dinner mystery set for Glenfield Friday

Published 12:01 am Thursday, December 28, 2017

NATCHEZ — Valerie Meng is throwing a killer party this weekend.

Seats are filling quickly for Meng’s Murder Mystery Dinner Show, which will feature a full meal, a theatrical performance and, of course, a death at Glenfield Plantation on Friday.

“My mother’s home is a part of Fall Pilgrimage and we do things throughout the year,” Meng said. “But one day we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to have a show involving dinner?’”

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And the perfect time to host such a show, she said, is the slow season between fall and spring pilgrimages.

Among the host of characters are a too-tipsy aunt, a young girl from the “wrong side of town” and a blasé newlywed who cannot seem to locate his wife.

The event is a whodunit-style mystery, Meng said, and the audience members who guess the killer become eligible for a prize.

“At the end of the evening when we’re serving dessert, we ask everyone to write down who they think did it and why,” Meng said. “There are always a few who get it right, so we draw their names out of a hat and give out a prize.”

The prize — and the culprit — must remain a secret, Meng said.

“We have a script, but it’s almost all ad-lib,” Meng said. “We have a lot of fun. We’re having a good time until someone dies.”

The show is comprised of fictional characters, but Meng said the history of her family and the house come into play as well.

“We like to include the family,” she said. “It’s a little way we can keep the home alive.”

Glenfield Plantation was constructed in three phases in 1817, 1845 and 1856.

Meng said she often incorporates parts of a diary that belonged to Lucy Cannon, a 15-year-old who lived in the house at the time of the Civil War.

The actors are primarily Natchezians. Meng said her rotating cast is comprised of family members, friends and actors from Natchez Little Theatre.

Stacey Carden said performing for a dinner party differs greatly from performing on stage.

“You have to be on point all the time,” he said. “The audience is going to ask you stuff and try to figure it out and you have to answer them somehow.”

Some in the audience are a part of the show, too.

Meng said she normally asks four or five of the first guests to reserve seats if they would like to hold secondary roles in the show.

Those who do get small parts and a script of their own.

“It keeps it interactive,” Meng said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Seating is limited for a winter party, Meng said.

The cold weather drives the cast indoors, where only approximately 35 guests can comfortably fit. In the summer and fall, however, Meng said she can fit groups up to 60.

Meng said few seats are left, but reservations can be made online or by calling 601-442-1002. Tickets are $65 per-person or $120 for a couple.