Be Entertained at The Black Fedora!

Maggie Lott

When it comes to things to do in Charleston, there is no shortage of choices. However, after you have seen and done it all, like most of us locals have, you itch to try something new. One such suggestion is a performance. Here in the Charleston theater scene, there are some incredible acts out there. If you are looking for something a bit off the beaten path, consider giving The Black Fedora a try, especially if you love audience participation.

I was fortunate to experience one of their longest running shows, Inspector No Clue’s Murder Mystery. The Black Fedora opened their doors in 2012 and are coming up on their fifth year here in Charleston. Located just steps from The Market, it is an ideal location for tourists and locals to easily find. During the day, you will see their shop open for not only ticket sales but mystery games, shirts, detective memorabilia and more. In the store, as well as online, you will see all of the shows that they offer. They also have ratings on them, similar to movies. Most are PG and are enjoyable for older children through adults.

Once you arrive at the theater, you are shown to your seat. It’s an intimate space where you can easily get to know your neighbors, order a drink and some food, and wait for the show to begin. One thing you will notice is portraits of all the great detectives we have gotten to know through movies and TV shows decorating their walls. They give you the chance to name them all for a prize at the end of the show.

Right before the show starts, you will get to hear a bit about the history of the theater and that they have heavy audience participation throughout the performance. They also use the entire space as their stage. The actors mill around guests and interact with them, all of which enhances the show. There comes a time when you can volunteer for a speaking role in the play. Luckily, no memorization is involved as you are handed a script and all you have to do is read the bolded lines when it is your turn. That night, all of the audience actors, including my husband, really got into their supporting roles, and it was a lot of fun to see all of the personalities come out.

During the intermission, if you didn’t get a chance to volunteer and would have liked to, there were some other roles to fill. This is where I realized I wanted to participate too. Unfortunately for me, they weren’t speaking roles. We poor souls who volunteered late had a chance to either be in a dance number or a choir. I was chosen for the choir. Now while my singing voice won’t make anyone wish they were deaf, singing in public is something I don’t like doing. Even so, I got up there with 8 of my closest strangers and we belted out the lyrics as best we could. I truly felt sorry for our audience as we were not only most likely off key but offbeat as well. However, it was still fun.

As the play was ending, they asked the audience members to take a guess on who murdered the main character, with what weapon, and what the motive was, all in Clue-style. I won’t give away how it went down but I will say, I would easily recommend The Black Fedora not only to those who are visiting Charleston but locals as well. The next time you are looking for an entertaining evening out, be sure to check them out, they have shows running just about every day.