Thank you so much for booking on to one of my Original Murder Weekends. I am delighted that you will be joining the many thousands of people in our ‘Murder Mystery Family’. I just can’t believe that it is our 39th year and that this will be my 140th plot. I invented a new concept in 1981 which I took round the world and which is now a worldwide industry of interactive Murder Events. Many have come and gone, but here I am – with a concept that was ‘Made in England’!
I am so lucky when I think that I’ve been here for so long, very happily spending so much of my time with such lovely actors and fabulous guests. What a super career I created for myself! Where else could I spend so much time laughing, screaming, fighting and causing mayhem in everyone’s lives?!
If this is your first time, we really hope that you thoroughly enjoy the experience and that we live up to your expectations. If you’ve been before, thank you so much for returning, welcome back and thank you for spreading the word!
Each Original Murder Weekend plot is based around a fictitious theme which is the vehicle to explain why a group of strangers would all meet up together in a hotel for the weekend. We hope that you, our very welcome guests, will enjoy playing along with the main characters in our plot. I always try to create a fun theme where we can all stretch our imagination and become people that we’re not, both actors and guests – and I hope that I’ve come up with a theme where we can all get really involved
We often talk about the golden bubble that we create over the weekend. We are so busy sleuthing, laughing, and having so much fun that we don’t have time to think about any worries we have, and living in the world that we now live, it seems to me there is a lot to worry about. I was listening to the Lion King and the great song ‘Hakuna Matata’ came on and it means: ‘no worries for the rest of your days’!! And my trusty light-bulb came on.
We have in the past had a few big pop group Fan Clubs – the ‘Yellow Submarine Club’; ‘It’s a Kinda Magic’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, which have always gone down well, with lots of music, laughter and fun games. So why not Elton? After all it certainly has been his year, with a great film ‘Rocketman’, very successful Biography and his final Tour which finishes next June – in Liverpool! What better time to write a plot that is a tribute to one of my favourite artists, who I was lucky enough to see three times in his heyday of stack silver boots, glitter, feathers and truly outrageous outfits. I thought, “wow we’re going to have so much fun and we’re going to look spectacular!!”
So, may I present to you, The Hakuna Matata Club, one of the largest Elton John fan clubs in the country. Often the members meet to go to concerts together, to socialise at dinners, discos and days out together. Sam Knutt, the Fan Club founder, realised that 2020 was a very special year – not only is it the year when Elton performs at his last ever tour, but it is also the 50th anniversary of his seminal album, ‘Elton John’ – the album that really launched Elton’s career. With such wonderful songs as ‘Your Song’, ‘Border Song’ and ‘Take Me to the Pilot’, it is still considered a masterpiece.
We would love you to be a member of the Fan Club and to join us for this special Hakuna Matata Weekend. The Fan Club have never gathered for a whole weekend before but feel that the 50th anniversary of this album warrants a special celebratory weekend. You could be the biggest Elton fan in the world, or you could hate his songs and be there to accompany your friend or partner who really loves his work.
Create a little story for yourself. You could be anyone you choose, a friend of Elton’s, an ex-member of his band, an actor, comedian, an exotic dancer. You can be anything you like for a weekend, just as long you are a fan (or not) of Elton!
I have written a plot which I hope you will thoroughly enjoy, one which will be a tribute to Elton and also to me – as definitely indisputably, undeniably ‘I’M STILL STANDING’!!
We always have a colour theme on Friday night and over the years we’ve done so many of the obvious colours. But for this plot, in honour of Elton, I thought let’s go for it! So, I think if we could all wear a base of black but highlighted by as much glitter, sequins, feathers and outrageousness as you can muster. So that sequin jacket in the wardrobe, the glittery bow tie, the feather boa – most outrageous and fun will win the prize. There is also a prize for the most brilliantly hand-decorated pair of glasses. Those of you who love creating things before the weekend will have a field-day I’m quite sure. Please don’t spend lots of money; as much as possible try and find things that you already have.
On Saturday night, there will be a themed party. A few years ago, we did an ‘F’ night where everyone had to come as something or someone that began with ‘F’. It was so much fun as it was so diverse, that it has become a bit of a tradition. So, for this plot it has to be E for Elton! It could be a well-known phrase, a film, a TV show, a food, a person – there are thousands upon thousands to choose from. But if fancy dress isn’t your bag, please don’t worry, just sticking something on a jumper would work. You could wear whatever you are comfy in and stick on a paper version of an Emoji, whichever you think reflects your mood most! If you didn’t mind being too hot, you could don your skiing gear and come as Eddie the Eagle! Often the simplest ideas are the most subtle and ingenious, and you can do as much or as little as you want. But if you want to go to town, as some of our guests love to do, saying it’s the fun build up which means their weekend starts long before they arrive! You could spend weeks making a giant Easter Egg!
As usual, throughout the weekend, there will be some fun, themed, games, with prizes for the winning tables (but NOT for ‘Googlers’!!). None of them are complicated but just a light-hearted way to get you chatting to your fellow guests to break the ice and alleviate the stress on your brains from trying to make sense of the dastardly deeds – after all, if we were only sitting around talking about murder, it could get quite deep and dark and what we most enjoy on Murder Weekends is to laugh!
Nothing is compulsory on Murder Weekends, so if you’d rather not wear fancy dress or want to sit out a game, go for a snooze or visit the Incident Room to study the evidence, that’s fine. But remember there is always quite a lot of action and we always have rows, deaths etc when all the guests are assembled. This is usually over mealtimes and sometimes when we’re marking games, so even if you don’t play, do come back, otherwise you may miss something vital that’s related to the plot, like another murder! Timings will be in the timetable in your arrival welcome pack.
Please don’t hire anything unless you want to. We’d hate you to spend any money on what is, after all, just a bit of fun which always causes amusement and is a great photo opportunity for our guests. If you do get stuck, give Geri a ring at our office and she’ll help you with some ideas.
The Murder plot lasts for the entire weekend and the actors will be in character from the welcome reception on Friday night until the end of the summing up on Sunday. Over the course of the weekend there will be at least three murders in the complex plot and so that no one misses anything, they usually occur when everyone is together. Saturday morning is free, and you won’t miss anything by going out shopping or visiting the local places of interest, but do pop into the Police Incident Room to see the first pieces of evidence before you go out. Although the police will have announced on their arrival that no one can leave the hotel, I’m sure they’ll turn a blind eye!!
We know you’ll have a lot of fun no matter how you decide to play the game, but for those of you who want to solve the crime, I have enclosed some tips. Please read them as they will help. It is also a good idea to bring along a small notepad and pen to jot down conversations you overhear or evidence you think is important.
As we’ve already explained, the main reason for the plot theme is so we can all role-play and get involved, which adds to the realism of the characters and, consequently, the plot. If there’s anything that you’re unsure of before the weekend, please do not hesitate to ring us at the Murder Weekend office.
I hope you love the new plot and enjoy all the many twists, turns and laughter that I promise there will be.
We very much look forward to meeting you on Friday at the Welcome Reception at 8.00pm, before dinner at 8.30pm. We hope you have a marvellous time and manage to crack the case, which will be solved when the Detective makes an arrest at 12 noon on Sunday, before we check out at 12.30pm.