Last updated: February 18. 2014 6:05PM - 1771 Views
By Kitsey E. Burns kburns@civitasmedia.com

Jezebel Jackson, played by Nancy Montgomery of Winston-Salem, attempts to convince Jay Romanz (Jay Martin) not to break up with her in the mystery dinner theater show held at Allison Oaks in Yadkinville.
Jezebel Jackson, played by Nancy Montgomery of Winston-Salem, attempts to convince Jay Romanz (Jay Martin) not to break up with her in the mystery dinner theater show held at Allison Oaks in Yadkinville.
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YADKINVILLE — A cast of crazy characters entertained diners on Saturday as part of a fundraiser for the Downtown Business Association’s improvement group known as D.I.G.

Funds from the mystery dinner theater event, hosted at Allison Oaks Vineyards on East Main Street, will go to purchase additional benches for downtown Yadkinville. According to event coordinator, Brenda Brown, the group has hosted three previous mystery dinner events and all have been successful. Saturday’s production was no exception.

“I loved it all,” said Dale Gough, of Courtney, who attended the show.

The night’s entertainment was an original play entitled “Love You to Death” written by area artist Lisa Reavis Drum, who also acted in the production.

Drum said she had done a lot of business writing in her past career, but never written a play until recently when the group had hosted a previous production using a purchased script. Drum said when they couldn’t find a second script they liked, she decided she would write her own.

While Drum was very humble about her writing abilities, Brown bragged on her skills as a playwright.

“They are very good and funny,” Brown said. “They make people laugh and I think that’s really important.”

The hilarity began as soon as guests arrived and were greeted by increasingly kooky characters Betsy Right, Jezebel Jackson, Helga Von Schlitz and Perry Midas, all of whom were campaigning to be “Valentine’s Queen” for the fictitious Yadkinville Valentine’s Ball. Over wine and cheese, the candidates mingled with guests and insisted they vote for them to be queen of the ball.

Betsy Right, played by Drum, also was campaigning for N.C. Governor. Representing the “far, far, far right,” Right hoped to get rid of “that liberal Pat McCrory” as governor.

Nancy Montgomery, of Winston-Salem, played the role of sassy NASCAR driver of a pink Chevy, Jezebel Jackson. Former Eastern Bloc Olympic gold medalist in weight lifting, Helga Von Schlitz, was played by Becky McCarson, a teacher at Boonville Elementary School.

The most outrageous character, described in the program as a fabulously rich cross-dressing business titan, Perry Midas was portrayed by Tony McCarson of Yadkinville.

Before the production began, McCarson confessed to having a whole new respect for the fashions women endure, especially pantyhose.

As the first course arrived at each table, Jim Player, portrayed by Jim Drum, welcomed guests to the “Valentine’s Ball.” He then announced that Jay Romanz, played by Jay Martin, had been crowned king of the ball.

Over a dinner provided by Regal Catering, guests watched as Romanz told each of his former lovers, Betsy, Jezebel, Helga and Perry, that he was breaking up with them and planing to marry someone else.

A scream was heard just before the winner of the coveted Valentine’s Queen crown was revealed and Romanz’s body was discovered at the bottom of a staircase. Detective Wayne Spade, played by Wayne Matthews, announced it was murder and the candidates for queen were all suspects.

With the help of clues placed on each table and audience participation, the story unfolded that Betsy, Jezebel, Helga and Perry all had motive to kill Jay Romanz. Guests all placed their votes for Valentine’s Queen and the top suspect in the murder.

Jo Ann Lemons of Siler City attended the play with her daughter, Robin Testerman of Dobson. Lemons is an avid mystery reader and figured out the solution to the crime.

“Nothing really stuck out for one person,” she said. “I thought, you know what, it had to be all four of them.”

At her mother’s suggestion, Testerman also guessed that all four suspects murdered Romanz.

“It’s the first time she’s ever listened to her mom,” Lemons joked.

The two won gift baskets for correctly solving the murder mystery.

The evening ended on a high note once the murder was solved and the queen of the ball was revealed. Much to the dismay of Betsy, Jezebel and Helga, Perry Midas won the crown.

Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.

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