Halloween dinner theatre haunts Ridge

Event takes place Oct. 26 at Bella Vita Restaurant in Maple Ridge.

Fred Levasseur and Tracy Weddell are members of Grim Reaper Mystery Theatre

Fred Levasseur and Tracy Weddell are members of Grim Reaper Mystery Theatre

The Bella Vita Restaurant is haunted.

Not only that, somebody has been found murdered there with a stake through their heart.

Is there a killer ghost? Who did it?

That is the mystery surrounding The man in the mask, the upcoming Halloween dinner theatre party at Bella Vita, on Lougheed Highway in downtown Maple Ridge.

Trevor Jenkins, of Grim Reaper Mystery Theatre, is excited about his first venture in Maple Ridge, and thinks the local restaurant is “ideal” for this type of entertainment.

Jenkins has been writing, directing and producing dinner shows for 20 years and specializes in the English murder mystery, which is good natured and tongue in cheek, as opposed to the American ones that are more forthright and violent.

“The English [murder mystery] is far more subtle and dry and more melodramatic, and by nature I’m that way,” Jenkins said.

“I have an affinity for it. It’s, by nature, a writer’s field and, by nature, I write in that vein.”

As patrons enter the Bella Vita, they will be greeted by a body on the floor, along with a number of the possible suspects. There will be clues all over the place. Between serving of meal courses, the cast will perform scripted lines before wandering through the restaurant, answering audience questions of who, what, when and where.

“And, of course, I tell everybody there will be another killing tonight,” Jenkins said.

There will be games and contests during the evening on Oct. 26, along with trivia questions and prizes. People are encouraged to dress up, although it is not mandatory.

At the end, audience members will get a chance to give their judgements and verdicts before learning the truth.

“The English murder mystery always has a surprise ending, always has a twist,” Jenkins said.

“The man in the mask” is his 150th show.

The Halloween mystery party starts at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 26. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $55, which includes dinner and show, taxes and gratuity.

Tickets must be purchased ahead of time at Bella Vita Restaurant at 22471 Lougheed Highway. Seats will only be reserved from the moment of purchase.

Murder mystery cast:

• Fred Levasseur plays Murray Off, the bumbling, likeable character;

• Gerry Hopkins plays Max Schnell, the hotshot hustler, and plays the Ghostbuster, as well;

• Corina Mod plays Marilyn, purported to be the ghost;

• Audrey McCormick plays Candace, the tweedy novelist who knows all;

• Trevor Jenkins, MC.