Mystery Theatre to offer ‘Slay Ride’

The first Christmas musical-comedy murder mystery show written by local humorists Bert Furioli and Butch Maxwell will be presented for the first time in 18 years for a single public performance at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, at River City Restaurant in Wheeling.  

In “Slay Ride” or “Rudolph the Dead-Nosed Reindeer,” the iconic caribou is threatening a strike on Christmas Eve, causing murderous intentions from other residents of the North Pole.

Santa Claus, as portrayed by Dustin Heavilin, is already a nervous wreck because the elves have been unruly.

Even his ultra-efficient deputy, Elfish (Meghan Ross), is unable to keep things on track as labor negotiations break down. Santa’s wife (played by Vera Barton-Maxwell) is pressuring him for an expensive gift, and she is tired of Santa’s “poker buddies,” who have been visiting the Clauses since Thanksgiving and have worn out their welcome.

Santa’s buddies are Tooth Fairy, in the person of Evan Oslund, and Easter Bunny, as played by Butch Maxwell.

The fairy is on the lookout for new supplies of teeth while the bunny systematically romances all the female elves he can convince. The audience-participatory program is filled with parodies of seasonable songs and satiric barbs at secular icons.

Several audience members will be chosen to play small parts in the show.

All audience members are encouraged to gather and share clues and to question suspects.

Most of the characters will interact with the audience in an unscripted pre-show mingle.

The comedy was first staged in 1996 and was produced not only in Wheeling, but across the country in markets such as Chicago, New York and Pittsburgh.

The Wheeling-based ensemble has been writing and performing original comedy murder mysteries for 22 years.

Performances include audience interaction and the opportunity to solve a murder mystery, along with a full dinner, and take place in a dining room, with actors moving among the tables.

For reservations and information about the performance at River City, which is located at 1400 Main St. in Wheeling, call 304-233-4555.

Private party information is available by calling 304-280-8681. For more information, visit www.MysteryTheatre