The acts in a dinner mystery should be kept relatively short so as to maintain interest and simplify the process of serving the dinner with the show.
Work with the food preparation staff on timing of the show and its acts to keep everything running smoothly. After the first act a break may be taken to serve soup, salad, or other early courses, and to continue beverage service. After the second act, the main course is served. Usually it is in the second act that the clues are given out and all the information needed to solve the crime is presented. At this time the audience may be asked to solve the crime, giving them a chance to talk it over with their tablemates and reason out a solution over their meals. If a third act is to be presented it should be between the main course and dessert, giving them a similar discussion period over their cake and coffee to solve the crime instead.
If you’ll also be selecting the menu, try to limit the number of selections to a few easily served choices as all meals will have to be served within a relatively short period if the breaks between acts are to be kept to a reasonable length. Dishes which require a great deal of individual preparation will slow down service considerably. A buffet style of serving might also be a quick and relatively painless way of getting the entire audience served at about the same time.
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