Murder Mystery Etiquette

When you plan a party or special event, you invest thought, time, energy, and money into ensuring your event is the best it can possibly be. You want your audience to be thrilled with the entertainment you’ve chosen and thank you for your hard work - - - for planning a party is not an easy task! If you’re in charge of selecting entertainment for a corporate event, or you’re planning a private party for friends or relatives, you might be concerned about how your audience will react. That’s understandable. Don’t fret! We’re here to help.


Murder Mystery Etiquette

Riddlesbrood Touring Theater Company has been entertaining at all kinds of events for the past 20 years. Let our experience and expertise guide you. You may have already made many decisions to ensure your event is a huge success, but … you’ve probably overlooked one thing. Have you “prepared” your audience? Do your guests know what to expect when they arrive? If you’ve decided to host a murder mystery show . . . Does your audience know what it is?  Will they act with proper murder mystery etiquette? Whether you’re planning a murder mystery party or any other type of sit-down or interactive entertainment at your next gathering . . . there are certain guidelines that every audience member should know to ensure that everybody enjoys the event. Murder mystery etiquette is no mystery! It’s just some simple common sense rules . . . but remembering to remind attendees of these things could be the difference between having a successful event that everybody loved, or one where a few disrupters negatively affected the experience for others. Murder Mystery Shows are popular, and ninety-nine percent of the time a murder mystery will thrill your group and have them talking fondly about your event long afterwards. To ensure your party doesn’t fall into the 1% . . . we recommend the following:


working with the audience

1. No Talking: Insist that your attendees conduct themselves as they would if they were sitting in any normal movie theater. Murder mystery etiquette is the same as the movies when it comes to talking, whether it be to others present in the room, or on the phone . . . just don’t do it. Although live murder mystery entertainment is interactive, (we encourage people to participate), and watching a movie on the big screen isn’t, the same basic etiquette applies so that everybody can enjoy the show. That’s not to say that one cannot have fun when the actors put the spotlight on someone — the shows that we produce are improvisational and interactive and we take people from the audience as volunteers and occasionally speak to members of the audience. They should feel free to have honest reactions to what is happening around them. However it is also important that they don’t overdo it by becoming a heckler. Everyone knows what it’s like when somebody keeps mouthing off and becomes a disruption. If people are talking back or heckling while the show is going on … others around them will not be able to hear or pay attention to the murder mystery scenario unfolding around them. Then there is the tipping point: If too many in the audience join in the talking, then it becomes socially acceptable and at a certain point EVERYONE starts to do it. In effect this is a collective agreement that the entertainment is not worth watching. If this happens, the performance is pretty much over. So don’t let this happen … stop the talking early and while it is small.


2. Walking Out:  Etiquette also includes not leaving the show during the performance. OK, OK - - - it's all right to leave to go to the bathroom . . . but leaving your seat during a show can be disruptive to the other audience members. This can occur if there are other OPTIONS such as an open bar at the back, a DJ in an adjoining room, or photo-booths, 50/50's and things of that nature. In all honesty a few people leaving for the bar is not a big problem …. unless it reaches the tipping point. When people start to leave during a show it can become a signal for others to leave as well. This can occur if perceived “Leaders” in your audience abandon the show such as the boss at a company party, the bride at the wedding, the birthday boy or girl, etc. If many people begin to leave, a "bandwagon effect” develops and may result in your murder mystery show being performed to a half-empty room, which is not ideal, as we can't laugh at our own jokes! Have all your guests enjoy the entertainment you’ve paid for . . . we strongly recommend that you plan all your other event’s activities and entertainment to occur after the murder mystery show has ended. If there are other things competing for your guests’ time, it's a big problem.  So just don't do it. 


3. Choose the Right Show and Theme: Our next point, and perhaps most important . . . We recommend you carefully choose the most appropriate form of entertainment that will fit perfectly with your group. Make sure that the show is right for your audience. Everyone has different tastes in humor. Murder mystery dinner theater entertainment focuses on interaction, comedy, jokes and gags with the audience. Will your group “play along” or be bored or disinterested? Let the folks at Riddlesbrood Touring Theater Company help you decide which of our unique, original shows would be perfect for your event, and how it could be adapted for your group, if needed. The professionals at Riddlesbrood have over fifteen years’ experience performing several unique, time-tested murder mystery themes and other shows. Starting with their extensive pre-preparation process, they’ll ask many questions to determine what your needs are and help you choose the best party theme depending on who your guests are, the event’s location, and the occasion such as a reunion, birthday, wedding, or corporate conference. Certain shows work better for specific groups.  Is your crowd "Cool" or "Campy"?  Is the event formal or more of a party atmosphere? For example, an older crowd might prefer a roaring 1920s murder mystery theme, while a game show is usually a big hit with a younger crowd. In addition, Riddlesbrood can also help you decide how much interactivity would be perfect for your crowd. For example if your guests are primarily young and/or the mood of your party lends itself to mingling and excitement, then more audience interactivity is likely to be a good thing.  On the other hand, if your event is for seniors or the atmosphere of your event is more formal, then high levels of interactivity may not be well received.


Red flags that your event might be more susceptible to Talking & Walking Issues:

o A large portion of the audience are small children

o A large portion of the audience are teenagers (Especially if it is co-ed)

o A large portion of the audience are seniors (Hearing related issues must be accounted for)

o A Majority of the audience were 'Compelled' to be there as opposed to choosing to be there.


actors working the room

No matter what type of entertainment is best for your guests . . . murder mystery etiquette or just basic audience etiquette in general, is something that should be communicated and monitored at your event. Although most people know how to conduct themselves properly, don’t assume everybody does. Designate somebody in authority to oversee and guide your event’s attendees. Your guests will follow the leaders and influencers in attendance, and they’ll thank you when talking, heckling, leaving the event and other disruptions are discouraged.

We can help you make the best choice for your audience. After all, that’s what it’s all about - - - your guests. You want your group to enjoy the event and be happy with what you planned. To ensure that your next event is the absolute best it can be, contact the folks at Riddlesbrood Touring Theater Company for guidance on how to ensure your time and money are well spent and for more tips on murder mystery etiquette. 


Visit our website for more information, on our Party Packages or call 866-276-6399 to discuss your needs. To see a live performance please see our Performance Calendar.

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