Key things to check when booking a murder mystery run by actors:
- Where and when can it be run? Only on a specific date at a specific venue or can you choose the time and the venue?
- What kind of printed information is given out during the event? Ask to see several sample pages of this. Judge its quality. If every guest will have a character to play, ask to see a few sample character notes. Be very suspicious if a company won’t do this for you.
- If the company doesn’t have a contact address and phone number on its website, be suspicious.
- Who does the company run its murder mysteries for? Mainly private groups or mainly corporate groups? Any big businesses or organisations? Does it have any glowing endorsements/testimonials/references available to you?
- Who are its actors? Professional actors who belong to the actors’ trade union, Equity? Or amateur actors taking part for a few quid and a free meal?
- How long has the company been in existence?
- How much will the murder mystery cost? If you are being offered a 5-actor mystery for £800, don’t expect a great evening. But don’t assume that “expensive” is always “good”, either. Some companies have an alarming similarity to dodgy builders and rogue mechanics. They promise the earth. They overcharge or slash their costs by cutting too many corners. They offer up a ropey plot that doesn’t make any sense with “actors” in it who are embarrassing to watch. Then they take the money and run. Prices vary a lot, not least because venue and food costs can make a big difference to the bill. Don’t just book the first company you come across. Don’t automatically book the cheapest. Check them out thoroughly and trust your instincts. Beyond all the sales patter, what are they really offering? Will they deliver something highly entertaining, funny, original and memorable? Or will it all be a damp squib?
- What extra costs are there? How upfront is the company in telling you about them? E.g. V.A.T., travel, food for the actors, a changing room for the actors, etc.