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Theatre 'Clues' in to Restaurant Week Jamaica With Dinner and a Play

Stephanie Hazel and Jerry Benzwick, cast members of Clues, dine

This Restaurant Week (November 8 - 16, 2013) diners can choose to have an order of theatre with their meals as new production house Peculiar People teams up with The Pantry Ltd to serve up Clues a dinner and theatre event.  Though dinner theatre is no strange occurrence, albeit a rare one in Jamaica, Clues makes for unique Restaurant Week offering and producers are hoping that it will whet the appetites of patrons and leave them salivating for more.

The dinner and theatre experience will take place in two parts. Dinner is served between 7pm and 9pm followed by the one-act play Clues, at 9pm. The play comes from the pen of first time writer and producer Laveda Thompson who heads up Peculiar People. Clues is being directed by Peter Abrikian and features a combination of experienced and emerging talent with a cast comprising Makeda Solomon, Jerry Benzwick, Oliver Mair, Rushae Watson and Stephanie Hazel. Lighting and the set have been designed by Robin Baston.

Clues is a one-act murder mystery written by Laveda Thompson"It’s a murder mystery with a twist,” explains Abrikian. “Five strangers are trapped in a house. They each get a letter saying one of them is a murderer and then from there it goes in crazy directions," he said. He promises drama and suspense with a touch of humour.

Thompson is excited at the prospect of her first outing, but notes that there were some pains as she went through her first time as writing and therefore having to balance her vision with those of the director.

“It’s the balance of understanding that the comments that you get is how to make the work better,” she said. “I've been blessed with an awesome cast.”

Abrikian who revealed that he intends to engage in more directing in the future and also wants to pursue some writing, expressed pleasure at working with adults once again, as he has recently focused his attention on children.Laveda Thompson (writer and producer) and Peter Abrikian, director of Clues

“It’s such a relief,” he confessed. “You get to talk to people and say let's go and they go.”

Abrikian had originally been approached by Thompson to act in the production. After a while it was decided that he would act and direct but when his character fell victim to the editor’s knife, he focused his attentions on direction.

According to Thompson, the decision to team up with Karl Hart and the Pantry was an easy one. She had met him through her stint on the Pantry Playhouse stage in What Is Fi Yuh.

"He has a theatre and he cooks well what more can you ask for?" Thompson says with a laugh. She explained that her interest in dinner theatre had come through a performance in Grand Cayman. “I thought it would be a very unique experience for Jamaicans for people who want something different,” she said.

 Hart explained that he agreed to the venture because he was intrigued. He explained that although it is not in his plans if the audience wants it, he is willing to pursue the combination further, and he views the venture as a good marketing opportunity.
Clues hopes to sate dining and theatrical appetites
“Adding the show is like climaxing with a good desert or a good cognac,” Hart said. The three course menu offers up a selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts including guava glazed jerk pork loin chops, pimento wood jerked chicken breast with papaya salsa and a black forest cheese cake. While drinks will come at an additional price but there will be specials as well as complimentary coffee from Cafe Blue.

“I'm trying to make people walk away with a good taste in their mouth,” Hart said.

Jerry Benzwick endorsed this, noting that the cast would have no worries after the audience had been sated with the Pantry fare.

"[W]ith the food I just tasted, we can do anything after that!” Benzwick said.

"It's the perfect after dinner piece,” Makeda Solomon said, adding her endorsement.

Clues takes place at The Pantry complex on Dumfries Road, New Kingston.