Death By Chocolate (5th September 2009)

Scott came to pick me up about 6.45pm this evening to Dransfield House on Willis St where we were attending a live event + chocolate tasting + online experience called Death By Chocolate. Cost us $38 each for the event created by Vanessa B Baylen from WhoDunnIt Events. This is the first interactive event I'm attending where participants get to play detectives to try and solve a murder mystery - how exciting! Once you've signed up and paid the fee, you will be sent a confirmation email with links to sites where you can hone in your detective skills e.g. how to identify the different personality types, ways to ask smart questions or find clues in preparation for the 'live' event.

We arrived just on time at 7pm to this 1870s two-storey Italianate-style Dranfield House which operates as a function centre and a perfect place for a mystery murder - crystal chandeliers, original oil paintings, polished wooden floors and ornate mirrors contribute to the unique atmosphere of the venue. Upon entering the house, we were greeted by Detective Beverley Hylskop and his assistant (we later found out that the assistant was the creator Vanessa) who signed us in, gave us a detective pass, pen and notepad each. We (the participants) were final year students and this was our first real life case and final exam for our course at the School of Detectives.

Us student detectives were gathered in the briefing room where Detective Hylskop gave us details of the case: Victim Mr AJ Oak had died from eating a chocolate tainted with the poisonous sap of Deliciousa Toxica at the chocolate themed singles' night at Dranfield House earlier this evening. It is unknown whether Oak was the intended victim, and there were 8 suspects detained for us to interrogate. The personal possessions of the victim and suspects have been confiscated and placed in the Evidence room in yellow trays which we are to inspect. And a fresh new batch of chocolates have been provided by Bohemein Fresh Chocolates for us to sample (Bohemein's way of proving their product is guilt-free). We had 2 hours to conduct our live investigation - no time to waste!

Scott and I began our investigation going through the individual possessions in the Evidence room (and yes, we did sneak out to sample the yummy variety of chocolates in between). We found all sorts of things - bank cards, jigsaw puzzle, letter from a deceased mother, spoon, toothbrush, poison mould killer liquid, cafe docket etc. So many things! How are we going to jot them all down? We (the student detectives) were encouraged to share information found and write it up on the large whiteboard provided. Some were already interrogating the suspects! Scott was still slowly going through the bags - hurry up!!

I went to speak to my first suspect at the bar and my god, what a bitch! Tamara "Tam" Artow was one of the guests at the singles' night and was very curt with her answers to my questions, looked me up and down in disgust and snapped at me, telling me to do my homework before asking questions! What the f&^%??! I went to look for Scott and told him about my ridiculous interrogation to which he laughed and said that perhaps Tam would be friendlier to a male detective. True enough, when Scott went to interrogate her at the bar, she went, "My, my, you have such a lovely accent..." and continued to flirt with Scott. Argh! Fine, I'm sticking next to Scott now with the interrogations...

While Scott was busy with Tam, I was approached by another guest at the singles' night, suspect Jack Azz. "Hello, what is a beautiful thing like you doing, sitting on your own at the bar?" he said to me, all suave. You can tell from a million miles that this one was a player! He was nice enough to answer my questions - found out that he knew some of the suspects prior to attending the singles' night. Hmm...

Scott and I chatted with Alison "Allie" Gull, another guest at the singles' night who was on a wheelchair due to a horse riding accident and was here tonight with her carer, Justin Case, a bald man who was quite fidgety (he may jolly well jump out of his skin if I boo! at him). Justin was the boyfriend of the hostess of the singles' night, Ivana "Coco" Noe, an older woman dressed up in a Bohemian-Indie look and at some point being interrogated by another student detective, ran out of the bar in tears (I've no idea what happened). We also spoke to Cassandra "Kaz" Enova, a hippie girl who turned out to be the AIDS victim support person for Susan "Sue" Tuble, a former prostitute who recently found out she has AIDS. Sue looked rather depressive and unstable, and I was standing slightly further away as Scott was asking her questions in case she did something quite dramatic. Sue in real life is an actor and my salsa friend, Amalia, but she, like the other suspects were fully in their characters - very impressive I must say!

With little time left, we briefly talked to Coco and Pearl Harber (Pearl was the waitress for tonight's event and is another depressive one - we could hardly get anything out of her), and all the detectives were called back to the briefing room to deliberate, submit their findings whether this was a murder or accident, what evidences to prove so and who was the real murderer. Frankly, there was just too much information to digest (other student detectives managed to find out that Oak used to be a woman who went to school with Allie, Jack owes Tam money, Pearl is pregnant with Jack's child etc.) and I took a stab that it was a murder, that Sue wanted to kill Jack for giving her AIDS by insisting on unprotected sex and he was still going out sleeping with other women the same way, but by accident Oak took the bait instead.

This was not the end of the mystery - we were not told who the murderer was but to find out more as the event continues on online till the end of the month via a secret website given to us. More clues, new findings/information and opportunity to ask the suspects more questions (they will reply to your post if they wish to) as the days goes on. Ooo, I SO want to know who the killer is but the answer will only be revealed 1st October. Argh - too long a wait! Photos taken at the event tonight:

The live event ended around 9.30pm. Participants and all the actors mingled for a bit post-show. Amalia came to apologise to me for being so mean to us - don't worry about it, my dear! I know you were in character :) Though I find that the plot is too complex for the 2.5 hour live event, I do encourage you to check out the event if it comes to your town. Well worth the experience ;)

Left around 10pm and tagged along with Scott to Breaker Bay to attend his colleague Simo's birthday party. Lots of WETA crowd in the lot and the place was done up with balloons, flashing disco lights and smoke, plus a self-service bar at the deck. Chatted with some of Scott's colleagues over drinks and decided to call it a night around 12.30am. Photos taken at the birthday party:


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