Thursday Oct 14 2010
‘Gold Fever!’ dinner with a side of murder
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal features editor
Catch meal, mystery at Lou La Bonte’s
Lou La Bonte’s has a little something special on the menu this month — murder. The Auburn restaurant is host to “Gold Fever!”, a murder mystery dinner theater experience that serves up suspense, humor and music to boot. “There’s fun, entertaining things hidden in this show that you don’t know about until you get here, and then they say ‘I can’t believe they’re doing this,’” said Dave Atkinson. Atkinson wrote “Gold Fever!” and plays the role of John Sutter in the production. His company, Affairs to Remember, has put on murder mystery dinner theater shows at Lou La Bonte’s before, but the gold rush era inspired “broad comic spoof” that is “Gold Fever!” is the first in several years. The show opened Oct. 1 and continues Fridays through the end of the month. “I’m very pleased with the responses we’re getting,” Atkinson said. The interactive evening kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and typically ends before 9:30 p.m. “All the characters are introduced right away,” Atkinson said. “There’s a murder to solve before salads are even served.” A comedic mystery unfurls before guests as they enjoy a three-course meal. “It’s just silly and crazy and fun,” Atkinson said. Three murders have been committed by the end of dinner, and it’s up to guests to solve the crimes, guessing the motives and murderers, Atkinson said. Prizes are doled out for the table that does the best job cracking the case. A gag gift also goes to the table where diners do the worst job, he said. Murder mysteries are Atkinson’s thing — he’s written and produced shows throughout Northern California. Past plots involve everything from mafia weddings to the Roman empire and “James Bond” and “Gunsmoke” spoofs. Judi La Bonte, owner of Lou La Bonte’s, is happy to have Atkinson back. “We see a lot of new and old faces,” she said. “The customer is interacting with the cast and everybody is involved with the play. It’s a variety play, with a lot of interaction with the audience.” The dinner theater takes place in the Lou La Bonte’s banquet room, and guests have three main-course options —prime rib, chicken marsala or pasta primavera. Reservations still available for tonight’s show, as well as the Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 dinners. Cost is $39.95 per person, which includes dinner and the show. Tax and tip are additional. Call (530) 885-7755 for reservations. “Gold Fever!” is definitely worth checking out, LaBonte said. “October is right before the holidays and I think people are looking for something to do,” she said.