A Round Rock theater group knows how to spice up your typical dinner-and-a-movie Valentine’s date night.
Instead of just plain ole dinner, how about a murder mystery dinner? Featuring a doomed romance, a haunted house and actual Williamson County history? Penfold Theatre is staging “The Most Fateful Tragedy of the Brushy Creek Lovers: an Investigation Spiritual” for one weekend only.
Here’s the premise: You’re one of an array of friends and neighbors selected to assist in the spiritual cleansing of a house, under the supervision of a medium. It’s not just any house. It’s the historical Rabb House, where you’ll really be dining.
“In the latter years of the 19th century, tragedy struck the banks of Brushy Creek. The locals will give you mixed accounts of the unfortunate events that befell a pair of young lovers that Valentine's Day evening so many years ago, but one thing is certain: the house that stands there today is haunted,” according to the the premise behind “The Most Fateful Tragedy.”
The interactive performance has been created and directed by Beth Burns, the founder of Austin’s Hidden Room Theatre. She took inspiration for the murder mystery night from two sources: local lore and Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
Part of her creative process early on, according to Penfold, was meeting with folks at the Williamson Museum “to achieve a hauntingly compelling storyline that rings true against the backdrop of the area’s pioneering years.”
The Rabb House hasn’t been around for nearly as long as “The Most Fateful Tragedy” storyline would suggest. It was built by the Rabb family in Round Rock in the early 1970s and has become a local treasure. After Brushy Creek was flooded by the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine in 2010, destroying the structure, it was rebuilt as a larger public venue.
But there will elements of truth to what you hear. Feeling spooked yet? You’ll be downright terrified if you also attend House of Torment’s “Love Bites: A Valentine’s Day Haunted House.”
Penfold Theatre’s murder mystery night will include a full dinner and drinks from the bar, all included in the ticket price. The dinner courses, from Chef Vikki Bowen, have been inspired by recipes from the original settlers of Williamson County.
“The Most Fateful Tragedy” runs 7 p.m. Feb. 16-18, with $65 tickets, at the Rabb House, 151 N A.W. Grimes Blvd., Round Rock. Make your reservations by Feb. 11. For more information, visit penfoldtheatre.org.