Review: Holy-Field Winery Murder Mystery Dinner
If you read my article, KC Thrills for the Mystery Buff in the October issue of KC Parent you know how much I enjoy a good mystery. Kansas City is home to several murder mystery dinner theaters, each with its own unique style and personality.
Last Saturday, my husband and I attended Death at Duck Dynasty at Holy-Field Winery. Holy-Field Winery is a locally owned and operated business in Basehor, Kansas. Hosting concerts, dinners, murder mystery dinners, and events throughout the year, the winery has become a much-loved local landmark where friends gather to enjoy good wine and great events, and in the case of the show we attended - strangers meet and become fast friends!
For the past fourteen years, Holy-Field Winery has been hosting mystery dinner theater shows from Upstage Productions. Actor, playwright, and improv comedian Kevin O'Brien puts on some of the funniest live mystery performances we have ever enjoyed (and keep in mind my husband and I have attended over a dozen murder mystery dinner shows). The show was so funny we were laughing till it hurt, at one point my husband leaning over to say, "I'm glad they took an intermission, my sides are sore from laughing and I need to catch my breath before the next act."
Before each show, audience members are invited to begin in the wine tasting room to sample Holy-Field Winery's wines and purchase a bottle to enjoy with the show and some to take home (prices range from $10-20/bottle). The show is then set up in various acts with a buffet meal (catered) served between acts. The food was fine - standard buffet meal with several choices. The wine was very good. The show.... the show was fabulous!
Audience members have such a great time at Holy-Field Winery mystery shows that many become faithful attendees with show reservations filling quickly (there is already a waiting list for the Christmas show). We're already making plans to invite friends to join us at a 2014 mystery!
My criteria for a fun murder mystery dinner theater experience:
- An interactive experience: this includes opportunities for the audience to try to extract information from suspects, play parts, and/or solve the mystery at the end.
- A script with many plausible suspects and an answer that "makes sense" in the end.
- A story full of humor and fun.
Did Holy-Field's Mystery Pass the test?
Prior to the show, approximately eight (I didn't count) members of the audience are selected to play parts in the show. Each member was provided with a simple script and props (if necessary). During our production, the random audience selections were amazing! Each one played their part so well and at the end the audience voted for the best to win a prize - the prize winner was seated at our table. We were extremely impressed with the script that was so full of fun and relatable humor, the audience naturally played right into it.
This was the most difficult aspect of the show - there were so many suspects, and so many names, we actually lost track! You might bring a pencil and paper if you're hoping to solve the mystery! The suspects did have plausible reason to commit the crime and/or good alibis - the story worked really well!
Oh my goodness! This was, without a doubt, the funniest mystery dinner theater we have ever experienced! The show was so uproariously funny we were still laughing on the drive home. Kevin O'Brien of Upstage Productions writes unique scripts for the show based on pop culture or familiar characters and each script is jam-packed with humor. Kevin plays all of the main characters (four characters for our show), changing costumes, voices, and accents masterfully - you really believe it's a new person. In between scenes, as he interacts with the audience, his talent as an Improv Comedian is phenomenal. He played off the audience weaving in jokes pertaining to the area (Cabela's or Bass Pro - which one is best?), plugging a local business who were gathered there for a company party (shop at Winkler's Jewelry), and responding to audience questions, commentary, and their ad libs (Facebook Photos abound). I do not remember the last time I laughed so hard during a live show!
The show played out as a parody of Duck Dynasty, and while I am not personally a fan of the television program, I was familiar with the culture and certainly the red neck jokes. I was able to follow every aspect of the mystery and humor easily. The show begins with an opening act introducing the main characters. Salad was served prior to the first act, and we made our way through the buffet between acts one and two. Act Two introduced the mystery and the bulk of the plot. We were then served dessert and mingled with other audience members trying to solve the crime. Act Three presented suspects and alibis, and after that we were all given a chance to try to solve the crime. Prizes were awarded to the successful sleuth, best audience member actor, and birthday, and anniversary guests.
Buy your Tickets Now:
During the show, one of the audience/suspects was revealed to be such a faithful follower of Holy-Field's Mysteries that they had attended every single show over the last fourteen years. Having enjoyed a night of laughter, mystery, and suspense at a charming local winery - I understand completely how Holy-Field has come to have such faithful fans. So, if you'd like to enjoy one of these great shows for a parent's night out (guests 21 and over only), I recommend making your reservations now! Call 913.724.9463 for reservations. Follow Holy-Field Winery on Facebook for updates.
Fri & Sat shows are at 7pm, Sunday Matinees are at 4pm. Tickets are $45/person (includes dinner and show, wine sold separately). Adults 21 & Over only.
- Dec. 6 - 8, 2013: "It's a Wonderful Death" (waiting list for reservations)
- Feb. 14 - 16, 2014: "Pretty Woman of Death"
- Apr. 4 - 5, 2014: "A Few Good Murders"
- May 9 - 10, 2014: "Gilligan's Island of Death"
- Oct. 24 - 25. 2014: "CSI: Transylvania"
- Dec. 5-7, 2014: "I'll Be Homicidal for Christmas"
Thank you Holy-Field Winery for a wonderful evening and show!