BY JUSTIN FORD
A gathering of people mingled in a dimly lit room, beaming with anticipation. A bone-chilling shriek rang out as a body hit the floor with a thunderous thud. Blake Molloy had been murdered.
The Intrigue Mystery Adventure was the brainchild of the Four Chicks – students of the event management graduate program at Conestoga’s Waterloo campus. The event, which took place March 28 at THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener, was a year-end project put together by the Four Chicks. They were expecting about a 30-person turnout, but close to 70 people purchased tickets.
“I’m impressed with the set up,” said Katie Owens, who played the role of Belinda Molloy, a prime suspect in her husband’s murder. “The team working on this are very intelligent girls.”
Each attendee-turned- detective was given a booklet with details about each possible suspect responsible for Blake’s death. The five suspects (and actors) began their dialogue after the body hit the floor, reassuring each other that they were all equal parts confused and innocent. Trying to remain calm, they scurried off to their designated parts of THEMUSEUM, where the participants then began to grill each suspect to solve the head-scratching murder in an attempt to form their own theories.
“I think it’s Belinda, because she lies,” said Conestoga second-year financial planning student, Xiachui Zhang.
The actors remained in character while enduring interrogation. Volunteers served drinks and as the night went on, members of the Four Chicks carefully placed clues throughout THEMUSEUM to help bolster the gradually forming theories.
“People aren’t on the right trail,” said Janet Burton, one of the Four Chicks. “Once the other clues get out, they’ll slowly figure it out.”
Those in attendance were truly enveloped into the event, so much so, that a shady character – who was not one of the five suspects – was starting to come under scrutiny for his sheer creepiness. Brando Von Dino, an employee at THEMUSEUM, was dressed in a brown trench coat, wearing aviator sunglasses and sporting a grizzly beard. He sauntered through the crime scene throughout the night, not saying a word, making many participants suspicious. He was often spotted in the upper levels of THEMUSEUM, looking down on everyone with a chilling gaze.
“I’m not going up there to be freaky. I’m going up there to do my job,” Von Dino said. “I really hope someone guesses me.”
Von Dino was a last-minute addition to give the event an extra boost of authentication. The night also included multiple door prizes, music, and a selection of free appetizers to fuel the detectives vying to solve the case. As the night went on, theories grew stronger. Participants not only had to accuse the right suspect, but also correctly guess a motive. Was it Jeffery Cage, a lowly ticket taker, Tom Gordon, a criminal investigator and close friend to Blake, Simone Graham, a European super model and love interest of Blake’s, Blake’s wife Belinda, or Charlotte Tanner, a hotel owner who knew all the dark secrets of each suspect?
As the participants were scrambling to submit their last-minute accusations, an ominous bell tolled to mark that time had run out, and the suspects gathered back at the scene of the crime to tell their stories and uncover what actually happened to Blake, and why.
As the first three suspects proved their innocence, Belinda hinted, “I may have contributed to my husband’s death, but I did not kill my husband,” which left one person with blood on his hands. In the end it was revealed Gordon the investigator – played by Francis Mellon, a Conestoga graduate – murdered Blake, over his jealousy, a growing grudge and his forbidden love for Belinda.
“The last clue gave it away,” said winner of the Intrigue Mystery Adventure, Chris Cressman. “The characters all did a good job. Often, what they didn’t say was a better clue.”
Along with Burton, the other members of the Four Chicks are Shelby Rodford, Kate Couto and Nancy Ariss. Their event went off without a hitch, and they all deemed the night an overwhelming success.