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Dinner Theater, Terra Nova Restaurant: Appetite Killed.

What do you get when you mix a classic episode of Saved by the Bell with Prohibition-Era gangstas and a plate of chicken piccata?

You get something like this.

Ah, yesssss... murder mystery dinner theater. I have secretly wanted to experience one of these ever since I watched Zack, Slater, Screech, Kelly, Jessie, and Lisa spend that murder mystery weekend at Mr. Jameson's mansion.

Every Saturday, the Terra Nova Restaurant (Costa Mesa, CA) is transformed into a 1920's era speak-easy... someone gets murdered, music is sung, comedy and mystery ensue. And somewhere in between, dinner is served. It's wonderfully cheesy.

The food is ok. It's a four-course meal, nothing spectacular but not super horrible either. Clearly, the highlight of the night is the show, not the dinner. If you're looking for something entertaining and random to do with a larger, slightly intoxicated group (e.g. birthday parties), I recommend this. If you're looking to have a romantic, quiet night out with your girl, sorry this is not the place to take her. It's an interactive show and actors will mingle with the diners during serving breaks. They may even call you out during the acts.

The mystery plot made absolutely no sense to me and I still have no clue who the killer was. But that might have had less to do with the quality of the script and more to do with the whole bottle of Pinot Noir I had with dinner. Props to the actors for their improvisation skills-- I suspect that it's not uncommon for a diner to spoil the fun by loudly pointing out that the dude who was murdered in the first act is obviously the new character dressed in drag in the current act (Thanks, Dad). The actors handled this monkey wrench quite gracefully and with wit.

Overall, it was good fun. I'm happy to finally cross this off my list of "things to do at least once in my life." What's next? Ordering a mango tonic with a kiwi twist at the bar...


Anonymous said...

saved by the bell rocks!!!