Frequently Asked Questions
-What is a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater?
Superfun! That’s what it is! In our case, a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater is a show that is performed at the location of your choice in between the courses of a meal, (a buffet works too), among the audience members as they sit at their tables. This includes a good guy, a bad guy, a little murder and a lot of fun. The shows are usually three acts and everyone plays a part plus there are lots of opportunities for audience participation with no need to memorize lines. Our shows are a lot of fun and are a great way to entertain a large group. A Jest Murder Mystery Dinner Show is a great entertainment solution for company Christmas parties, corporate events, large birthday parties, family reunions and the occasional bris. This will be something they will laugh about for years to come…trust us!
Jest is unique in the world of dinner theater. We only hire true professionals and we train them to pull the funny out of any situation…and its completely painless! If you’re looking for spooky, detached, community theater…this is NOT your murder mystery company. But…if you’re looking for real professionals to pull your people into the show with oh so much audience involvement, have them rolling in the isles and then make them the heroes of the day, then this is your Murder Mystery Co. It’s not bragging if it’s the truth! Check out What to Expect When Expecting a Jest Murder Mystery Dinner Event for more information on just exactly how our shows work.
-How much audience interaction is there?
A whole bunch! In fact, your people will be involved in every aspect of the show. You will not find another company that involves the audience as much as we do. Your guests can participate as much or as little as they would like to. They. Will. Have. A. Blast!
-What does the show include?
We will supply two very funny entertainers who will direct the three very funny acts of your selected show. We will bring all supplies needed for your comedy show. This will include but is not limited to: Parts for everyone to play (if they want to), cards and pencils so your audience can figure out “who dun it”, playbills which set the scene for your show and introduce your entertainers, various props and limited edition Jest trophies for three lucky winners. You book the venue, catering and bar and we’ll bring the MuRdEr!
-How long do the shows last?
We are very flexible and can normally adjust our shows to meet your needs. A typical timeline including a mix and mingle, our show and a meal is about 2.5 to 3.5 hours from start to finish. Craving more details? Check this page which explains a Possible Agenda for our shows.
-How many actors do we get?
Our formula includes two rigorously auditioned and better trained entertainers with every show. By keeping the number of entertainers to a minimum, we find that there are many more opportunities for the audience to get involved. This makes our shows more engaging and therefore, much funnier. You do not want a show where your audience is sitting quietly watching a bunch of actors. Yawn!
-Can we serve food while the entertainers are performing?
In order to make sure that your show is the absolute best that it can be, our entertainers will not perform while servers are working in the room or while guests are eating. And the reason we don’t do that is very simple. Attention. We want your show to be great and for that to happen, our entertainers must have the audience’s attention. So, we ask that everyone finish chewing and servers take a break while the entertainers are performing. We want to give you the best show possible and this is one simple way to make that happen. See Setting up Your Room to get other tips for making the most of your show.
-Can I plan the meal and then have the show afterward?
We advise against this strategy. We have been performing interactive shows since 1999 and we have learned a few things. One such thing is that this approach makes for a difficult/low-energy show.
Our shows are built around meal breaks to give audiences just that…breaks. These shows were not written to be performed in one long act and although it is “doable”, your audience will get tired and lose energy. Low energy = not much fun. If you serve all of your food before the show starts, the show will not be as good as it could have been. Trust us, we know what we are talking about!
If you would like to do a single plated course or a buffet style meal, our entertainers can adjust the show into two acts to accommodate your event. This will insure that your meal is served the way that you want it and your group will still have a fabulous time.
-Are your shows right for my group?
Our shows are written for mature audiences and do contain some adult humor and references. There is no cursing or lewd content, just some light-hearted, suggestive humor. In general, we do not recommend our shows for young audiences and place the content at a pg13 rating.
-What is your booking process?
You ask for quote…we send one…you fill out contract and pay a deposit…you coordinate with your venue and caterer of choice…we book our entertainers and add you to our schedule…we show up…hilarity ensues…we invoice you…you pay us…everyone talks about how much fun they had…you call us again next year. Shows are contingent on actor availability so don’t send out the invitations until you get confirmation from us that your performers are available and booked.
-I just got a quote, what now?
Make sure to pay your deposit and sign your contract within 30 days so the quote doesn’t self-destruct. Also, we can’t hold onto any dates until the contract and deposit are received. Not all shows are available in all areas and availability will vary biased on location and schedules. Your quote contains all travel expenses but if you plan to pay with a credit card, expect a tinsy, winsy processing fee.
-What do I need to do after I book my mystery?
You will need to arrange for a banquet space, the location and menu of your choosing. Then ask us, Jest Murder Mystery Company, to come in as your turnkey entertainment. Sweet, simple and very, very funny. It’ll be an evening your audience will never forget.
-What credit cards do you accept?
Visa, MasterCard, Discover & American Express. If you pay with a credit card, expect the tinsy winsy processing fee mentioned above
-Do I need sound for my show?
Sound is oh so very important. After all, if a joke is told and the audience can’t hear it…is it funny? The answer is no, it is not! Please check out Sound and Why it Matters for our sound philosophy and what kind of sound would be best for your show biased on your audience size and choice of venue.
-I am getting sound for my show, what equipment should I ask for?
We always recommend (1) sound system, (2) wireless headset (or lapel) mics, and (1) wireless handheld mic. See Sound and Why it Matters for more information on making the most of your sound.
-The contract states that you are not responsible for cancellations due to inclement weather, but what if the entertainers can’t get here because of the weather?
If you cancel due to weather prior to when our entertainers start traveling to your show, we ask that you reschedule and we will pick another date to entertain your group. If you cancel after our entertainers have started traveling toward your show, then we will reimburse the entertainers any costs that they have incurred out of the deposit. If our entertainers do not reach your show location due to weather, car problems, acts of God, etc. we will refund your deposit.
-Can I have any show on any date at any location?
We will need to make sure that the show you want is available in your area and that our entertainers are available to perform it on your chosen date. Usually, the answer is yes, but our shows are contingent on these factors. After we receive your deposit and contract, we will start the process of booking your show, which includes insuring our entertainers availability. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you get your contract and deposit in to us as early as possible. And make sure that you receive positive official confirmation from us before you start promoting your event!
-What is the best way to set up the room?
What an excellent question and you are so smart to ask it. Please see our awesome article Setting up Your Room, concerning that absolute best way to win at setting up your room.
-What do I need to provide for the entertainers?
Our entertainers are very easy going and only require one small amenity. Literally, they need a place to change clothes that is close to the performance space. This can be a broom closet, storage shed, the boss’ office, boiler room or even a curtain strung across the kitchen pantry. Like I said, they are VERY easy going. However, I must stress that this cannot be a public restroom! You wouldn’t want an audience member strolling in on an actor while he/she is changing…this is not that kind of show! That was a joke…see how funny we are?
-I’m planning a surprise murder mystery…what a great idea right?
Planning a surprise event is a wonderful idea, but it’s not a great idea to plan a surprise dinner theater event. Why? Because these shows are heavily reliant on the participation of the audience and when an audience is surprised with one, they tend to get a little scared and shut down. We recommend that you let everyone know in advance what you are planning so they will be open to having a good time when the time comes. And then they can come in costume! How fun is that!