subscribe: Posts | Comments

Illusionists, escape artists and spiritualists all aboard Murder Mystery Train for ‘Illusion of Death’


An illusionist, an escape artist and a spiritualist board a train bound for John and Mable Ringling’s Sarasota mansion of the Gulf of Mexico. No, this is not the lead-in for a joke. It’s the predicate for the latest play being performed on board the Murder Mystery Dinner Train.

Written by Wende’ K. Bowman and produced by Hanna Fay in tandem with the Fay Family, The Illusion of Death revolves around escape artist Barry Boudini and his wife and assistant, Lillie, who have accepted an invitation to do a private performance for the Ringlings at their Gulf Coast mansion, known as Ca’ d ‘Zan. Boudini plans to perform the “Death Trap,” his latest death-defying illusion. But there are others who know its secret.

One of those is Boudini’s disgruntled brother, Benjamin. Once Barry’s business partner, the long-suffering Benjamin has always been jealous of his brother success in work and with women. Benjamin has joined Barry on board the train in hopes of reviving his career by crashing the party at Ca’ d ‘Zan. He travels with his own assistant, the lovely Isabelle Garrison, a fiery force in her own right who was also Barry’s assistant once upon a time.

The train also carries Barry’s personal physician and trusted confidante, Dr. Patterson, and a spiritualist who goes by the moniker of the Mystic Zanzibar. The Ringlings have invited him for purposes of leading a séance, and if Barry Boudini bears any resemblance to Harry Houdini, the sparks are apt to fly as Houdini publicly inveighed against fraudulent mediums who conned grieving customers out of their money. In fact, just a few months before his untimely death on Halloween in 1926, Houdini even testified before Congress in support of legislation that would have criminalized fortune-telling for hire.

The Illusion of Death is the latest play that challenges Murder Mystery Dinner Train passengers to channel their inner Super Sleuth as they try to solve the ‘Who Dunnit?’ as it plays out in the aisles of each dining car in between each of the five courses served to the passengers as they chug along the tracks toward Sarasota and back.

Each passenger receives a playbill, clue sheet, and pen to follow along with the live scripted show, writing down clues as they go.  Clue sheets are collected before the final resolution act. One prize is awarded by the actors to the one super sleuth in each dining car.  A bonus question may be used to solve a tie, and neatness counts.

The Murder Mystery Dinner Train theater venue is truly a unique experience as you have the opportunity to enjoy the murder mystery play, interspersed with the five meal courses, beverage service and of course, conversation with your fellow tablemates.  Our line-up of shows changes every year.

Murder Mystery Dinner Trains depart promptly at 6:30 p.m., except on Sundays and certain holidays, when the departure time moves up an hour to 5:30. The trains depart from the Colonial Station in Fort Myers, and return to that location as well.

Please go here for more information, including a full cast list.

June 5, 2024.

Comments are closed.