Diners become detectives during this interactive and entertaining evening. 


Dinner and a show with a twist. That’s one way to describe “California or Bust,” an audience-participation theatrical performance by Midnite Mystery Show. Set to premiere November 17 at Hotel Viking, the performance is a revival of sorts; the 21st-century incarnation of murder mystery dinners popular in the 1980s and 1990s.


Established by Chris Jason, Mario P. Neves and Corrado Marcucci, the new Midnite Mystery Show has direct ties to its precursors. Jason, Neves and Marcucci all played on the Rhode Island-area dinner theater circuit in the ’90s before going on to individual success in the entertainment industry.


“My roots are in this,” said Jason who likened the Midnite Mystery Show productions to vintage Saturday Night Live and Monty Python performances.


Heavy on improvisation and audience engagement, “California or Bust” takes place in a saloon setting. Actors in character begin to enter the scene soon after dinner is cleared. Gradually, the audience morphs into first-person observers as they become engaged in the drama and interact with the characters in an attempt to solve a murder. Mystery lovers are encouraged to channel their best Sherlock Holmes-style problem-solving skills; a gift certificate for dinner for two at One Bellevue goes to the amateur sleuth who solves the murder.


Set in Hotel Viking’s One Bellevue, the evening begins at 6:00 PM with a fall-inspired buffet dinner including a selection of chicken, beef and seafood entrées. Actors begin to enter the scene at 7:15 PM for the 90-minute performance. Per-person cost for the buffet dinner and show is $49 (not including tax and gratuity). Reservations are encouraged. Call 401-848-4813.