Rock ‘n’ Horror Murder Mystery – Event Review – Queen’s Hotel, Leeds

Rock ‘n’ Horror Murder Mystery Event Review Queen's Hotel Leeds main

Rock ‘n’ Horror Murder Mystery – Event Review

Leeds Queen’s Hotel, November 2019

by Gail Schuster

It is not often on a Friday night that you find yourself sitting down to eat with a French maid, an undead nurse and a transvestite from transexual Transylvannia but that might be what happens if you sign up to one of Red Herring Games’ Murder Mystery events. Never having been to an evening like this before I wondered what to expect but any concerns about not knowing what to do were soon dispelled.

On arrival at the conveniently central Queens Hotel in Leeds, we were ushered into the bar to wait until somebody escorted us to the allocated function room. My husband and I were seated with six others, all of whom had come in pairs, but there were larger groups of people too. In total there were approximately thirty-five attendees. The others on our table were a friendly bunch, including veteran mystery goers Dave and Sue, regular attendees of these entertainments, but for the rest it was everybody’s first time.

For this Rocky Horror Show inspired event (each event has a different theme, such as the Mobsters and Molls theme pictured above), the guests took the roles of suspects and those people who had volunteered were given scripts prior to coming into the room. Adjacent to us was Frank Lee Furtive, gamely wearing patent black stilettos, stockings, basque and a red feather boa.

Rock ‘n’ Horror Murder Mystery Event Review Queen's Hotel Leeds dining

Guests peruse photographic clues while enjoying one of three courses

“Very high standard”

The fun started with a loud scream from outside the room, and one of the suspects running in. The drama unfolds in three parts, each preceding one of the meal’s three courses. All follow the format of scripted dialogue between the suspects, prepared questions asked by the diners with answers given by the protagonists. Round one of dialogue and evidence was presented to us and we were then free to deliberate what we had heard as we ate our starters.

The mainly printed clues and other resources provided to help guests unravel the complex and outlandish plot are of a very high standard. On the table were suspect profiles including names, relationships to each other, a character description and their reasons for being there. There were also pens and pads to jot notes as the evening progressed. Following each round, transcripts of the dialogue were handed out. This was especially useful as the potential perpetrators didn’t use microphones and this approach allows bemused sleuths to catch up on anything they might have missed, and look more carefully at the statements made. Physical evidence was also presented in the form of photographs.

Red Herring Games was started by Jo Smedley in 2007, initially working out of her loft. However, since then the company has gone on to win several awards including best exporter at the Small Awards in 2017 and Small Business 100 in 2016. The company has also exhibited at 10 Downing Street. Other highlights include providing a murder mystery for The Only Way is Essex and for the Agatha Christie 125th birthday celebrations.

Rock ‘n’ Horror Murder Mystery Event Review Queen's Hotel Leeds evidence

An evidence board gives further assistance to help solve the murder

“No pressure to go in fancy dress”

Our evening jogged along at a good pace with the food being served swiftly as each round finished. After the three rounds, participants were invited to submit their ideas for whodunnit and their motives to Inspector Scott. Scott and his sidekick Grate (pun very much intended) were stars, hamming it up in fishnet stockings and high heels.

The teams who had correctly worked it out were all awarded a prize and there was a small prize too for the best costume. This was deservedly won by Dave, the zombie nurse on our table, who heroically spent the whole night with his face swathed in blood stained bandages. However, for those of a nervous disposition, I must add that there is no pressure to go in fancy dress, with about half of the room in costume and the other half dressed for a smart-casual night out. Usefully, there was a bar in the room, so guests did not miss any of the action whilst queuing at the public bar, and the staff at the Queen’s Hotel were very attentive throughout. It made for a different and unusual Friday night out.

If Rocky Horror isn’t your thing, Red Herring Games’ forthcoming events includes Smash Hits, The Greatest Showman and A Christmas Carol inspired productions, as well as games which can be played at home and a good range of useful accessories. Their next ticketed evening is ‘The Smashed Hits Poll Winners’ Murder’ on 15th November in Huddersfield.

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