Monday, November 6, 2023

Murder at Gray Gables—Gray Gables Estate—SE Portland


To Die For

    The Engagement Party—a dark comedy, murder mystery, dinner-theatre is playing at Gray Gables Estate, 3009 SE Chestnut Street, Portland, OR 97267.  It is written by Doug Sellers, produced by Jennifer Berryhill and directed by Meghan Daaboul.

For more details on the show/experience/ food visit the Eventbrite page:

    This venue for a theatre experience may be new to some.  Food and drinks are served in a restaurant-like atmosphere, while actors perform around  (and sometimes) with you to enact a story.  In this case, two feuding, rich families in which, at some point, one of the guests is murdered and it is up to you, and a detective, Bronson (the author, Doug Sellers), to solve the crime.

    The plot is more complicated than it needs to be, but the relationships (and food) are delicious!  The Swanson’s (Bride’s family) and the Danner’s (Groom’s family) will verbally duke it out, revealing and unveiling the worst in humankind.  Dysfunctional doesn’t begin to describe the tongue-lashing mayhem that will ensure.

    Bride, Elizabeth (Meghan Daaboul), with her fiancé, Mark (Dirk Foley), seem to be above the fray, but when things get touchy, even the lovebirds can begin pecking at the seams of the family trees.  Harvey (Jeff Brosy), Elizabeth’s father, has a special gift for the intended, or are his intentions barbed with deceit?  Francine (Francine Raften), the Bride’s mother (and Harvey’s ex-wife)is a brassy, outspoke she-wolf, but are her bites worse than her howls?  And Kinnedy (Caralynn Rose), Harvey’s child-bride, seems in love with fashion and status and not much else.

    Robert (Michael Rouches), Mark’s father, is obsessed with property stolen from him and schemes to get it back.  Gloria (Amber Green), Mark’s mother, is family-oriented, as long as it benefits “her” family.  Kevin (Brick Andrews), Mark’s brother, is a playboy through and through, no matters who it hurts.  And Amy (Erin Bickler), maid-of-honor, is flirty and flighty, both in body and mind.  And then there is that pesky Bronson (Sellers), snooping about, possibly for his own ends.  And so you have it, a perfect storm, a witch’s brew “to die for!”

    To say the least, these are not nice people but, at least, they’re entertaining for an evening, but not someone you’d want for your next-door neighbor…or do you have neighbors like this?!

    The actors all fit their roles to a T.  In particular, Daaboul, Raften and Sellers.  And director, Daaboul, keeps the pace moving even through the more clunky moments in the script.  The food was very good and healthy, and the atmosphere perfect for this type of play.

    I recommend this show.  If you do see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.



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