One of the things we love most here at Charaderie is our fantastic, secretive, manipulative and ridiculous cast of murder mystery characters whom we introduce to our guests on a regular basis. In the first of our ‘Spotlight’ posts we’ll be revealing how important our mysterious suspects are in creating a fabulously enjoyable event whilst efficiently getting those cognitive processes working!
“I hope you’re not implying anything underhand young man!!”
When we craft a good murder mystery, we are thinking not only about the entertainment value but also how we can give our guests’ cognitive skills a bit of a workout, particularly if they are running one of our events for training and development or teambuilding. Interesting characters are, of course, of the utmost importance, and how they react with the audience and each other, and the information they allow themselves to give away (or not!) all goes towards making the experience much more rounded.
A good mix of exaggerated character traits (arrogant, bashful, stupid, defensive, sly for example) brought to life alongside some good old fashioned walking cliches are invaluable, and this month it’s the turn of one such example, Lord Harry Stockressy, to come under scrutiny…
Age: Indeterminate (as with all of our characters, a little ‘flexibility’ is often required!)
Favourite Drink: A tot or two of single malt, the more expensive the better.
Hobbies: Too many to mention, but include collecting rare first editions, hang gliding and sheep shearing.
Favourite Food: Nanny’s spotted dick.
Skeleton in the closet: He has a long lost twin brother, Al Beback.
Appearance: Lord Harry Stockressy makes a dramatic entrance in our classic Agatha Christie style whodunnit ‘The Will Reading’.
In a nutshell, Lord Harry is very rich, but not very bright. With a child like quality he flits from one hobby to another; the latest being the study of Egyptology which is how he met his current (beautiful and much younger) fiance Heidi Valuables, a somewhat dubious archivist who has wheedled her way into his affections and has some rather rattly skeletons of her own in various cupboards! At once our guests feel at ease with Harry; he is a character cliche they recognise, the rich aristocratic buffoon with more money than sense, intent on marrying a young, beautiful girl with no thought that he may be heading for disaster. We can lull our guests into a false sense of security with his familiarity, which makes the twists and unexpected turns even more effective as they investigate their way towards the denouement.
“Heidi my love, tell me the rumours about you and Stan Dingproud aren’t true?!”
Because of course, in a successful murder mystery, no one is quite what they seem. There is a fine line between allowing our budding detectives to gather enough information to solve the mystery, and handing the solution to them on an obvious plate. Is Harry really as much of a loveable idiotic buffoon as he makes out? Does his new fiancé love him for himself, or his pots of cash? Of course we can’t give away too many secrets, but Lord Harry’s character employs the classic traits of a mastermind portraying a simpleton, a case of mistaken identity and a little bit of blackmail thrown in for good measure!
“Whatever that silly little girl Gladys may have told you about me it’s not true, I tell you!”
Murder mysteries can and should be more than just fun which is why we are so proud of how ours are used to great effect in employee engagement, training and development and teambuilding. Allowing your brain to be taken on a roller coaster by our clever deceptions is a great way to give the brain a pleasant work out! Needless to say none of our characters will reveal their true selves until they’ve allowed our guests to fully engage with them, sometimes by utilising a newly acquired skill as simple as learning to ask open questions (“how did you feel when you discovered Heidi was having an affair with Stan?” as opposed to “did you kill Flora?!”) and this is where our well researched characters (and of course the actors portraying them!) come into their own.
Along for the ride
So although we make it look like effortless fun, the story behind poor old (apparently innocent) Lord Harry Stockressy has played an important part in our guests enjoyment and improved cognitive skills over the course of the event. Over the coming months we’ll be shining the spotlight at several of our other rich and colourful suspects, but for now we’ll leave you with the knowledge that, in ‘The Will Reading‘, Lord Harry Stockressy’s long lost twin brother Al Beback makes a sudden and unexpected appearance.
Or does he?