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By Jacqueline Monahan
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Celebrating its 15th anniversary in Las Vegas, Marriage Can Be Murder simultaneously serves up dinner, a show and a side of death (the funny side) in a live nightly 6:15 “reservation.”

Billed as a comedy-murder-mystery dinner show (chew on THAT) the fun starts before you’re even seated.  A maitre‘d named Sal asks waiting patrons for their entrée preferences, giving each person a corresponding color-coded and laminated card.  There are three choices:  the Chicken Piccata (Fowl Play, yellow card), the Sirloin Tips (Dead Meat, red card) and the Vegetarian Ziti Pasta Marinara (Meatless Mayhem, green card).  Special diets can be accommodated; just don’t ask for the side of white ricin.

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Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Guests are ushered into the newly renovated Showroom at the D Las Vegas (formerly Fitzgerald’s) by a statuesque blonde in pink jacket and black shorts, with a puffy retro hairdo and a personality full of puns and pizzazz.  Hostess and emcee DeeDee shows guests to their table or booth aided by a mega-watt smile.

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Dee Dee
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

A salad sits at each place setting, naked until you apply Italian or Ranch dressing to it.  Start eating once you sit down, because the entrée won’t arrive for another hour.  Have a roll, have a drink (alcoholic beverages cost extra) have a …murder?

The two hours of interactive sleuthing introduces the audience to Lieutenant Ralph Ohlsen, an armed public servant in short shorts who patrols the showroom asking questions of the audience and the cleverly planted actors among them.  DeeDee, in a role that’s alternately sharp and ditsy, conducts a dialogue full of misunderstandings, malapropisms, and double entendres.

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Lieutenant Ralph Ohlsen
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

In this iteration of the long-running show, someone is shot, another is poisoned, and someone else is stabbed.  Evidence is everywhere, and phones, cameras and video shoots are encouraged; that’s almost breaking the law by Las Vegas show standards, but the leg-baring lieutenant ensures that order prevails amid the murders...  Even Facebook plays a role in the whodunit.

DeeDee sets the tiny stage.  There is one, but the entire showroom holds clues and is covered by the pair, traveling every inch in their quest for justice.  A four-piece band, nurse, gloved pall bearers, a police officer, and an audience full of female wailers (whenever a dead body emerges) are assigned their roles before the first corpse hits the ground.

Sound bites enhance audience interviews.  If DeeDee’s microphone lands in front of your mouth, don’t be surprised if a theme song, sound effect, or catch phrase fills the room. Addams Family, Sanford and Son, Green Giant, Gangnam Style, a flushing toilet, a yowling cat, or The Village People’s YMCA may just punctuate your brief appearance.

The Lieutenant and DeeDee trade quips and questions, although not always aboard the same train of thought.

Lieutenant: "I didn't catch your name."
DeeDee: "I didn't throw it at you."

Puns and bullets fly, as well as liberal amounts of double entendres.

Lieutenant: “Are you taking a picture of my crotch?”
DeeDee:  “That’s against the penal code.”

One long string of puns is a back-and-forth between these two that confuses PMS with ESP, psycho with psychic, and illegitimate with illiterate.  Impertinence is something you get from wearing tight shorts, according to DeeDee.
A 5-minute speed “dating” episode that occurs after dinner ends with another murder, while a “twist” in the plot is accompanied by the Chubby Checker tune and an audience demonstration of the dance.

Sleuth pads are provided for written audience response to be collected and analyzed before a winner is chosen.  Show tickets and a literal round of applause (clapping while making a circle with your hands) ensue.

Through it all, DeeDee and the Lieutenant banter and spar, gathering laughs and groans.  Hint: the laughs increase proportionally to alcohol consumption.  It’s great fun for (almost) the whole family (8+)

As if DeeDee doesn’t provide enough already, the Death By Sugar cheesecake is served in sharp little daggers with suspiciously red strawberry sauce.  She explains the show’s popularity with, "A lot of people wanted to see the fancy shows on the Strip, but they come here because we're cheaper and we have food."

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Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Scenarios, plots, actors, and themes change every three months, but the nightly sequence holds steady at Salad, Death, Dinner, Death-Death, Dessert, served with a buffet of blood, noise, alibis, and interviews.

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Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Co-star Jayne Post (DeeDee) directs, writes and stars in the award-winning show, voted by locals the best dinner show 2013 and 2014 (the RJ - Best of Las Vegas).  Marriage Can Be Murder was also awarded a 2014 Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.  Husband Eric Post is co-creator and sometimes co-star; that must be where the marriage part comes from.

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Jayne and Eric Post
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

The show has run for 5000 performances and 20,000 murders.  The laughs, however, are countless.

Making a killing, are they?  Only seven nights a week.

 

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