The mission, if you choose to accept it, is to eat, drink and solve a murder before dessert is served.
That’s the assignment at the Pines Dinner Theatre, where through March 7, “Mission: Improbable: Super Spy Edition” (aka “Impossible,” as in the TV series and movies) is challenging audiences to follow the clues to find out “whodunit” from among the suspects on and off stage.
During the Jan. 25 “murder investigation,” aka, performance, witnessed and reviewed by this theater sleuth, several clues were uncovered.
Q. My husband just surprised me and our children with an eight-week-old puppy. I think my husband should have talked to me about this first. I know I am going to be the one who is going to take care of this dog, and I am not happy. What should I do?
The panel agreed with the mother that she should have been consulted before the husband brought the puppy home, but the panel first focused on how other decisions are made in the family.
Q. My 17-year-old daughter has become so difficult to deal with this past year. She is a senior in high school and is all set to begin college this fall. Whenever I suggest that we do something as a family, she rolls her eyes and says it is “stupid.” Yet, she seems happy, especially when she is with her friends. What is going on?
“Adolescence” was panelist Mike Daniels’ immediate response. “That is what is going on and it is pretty normal,” he said.
Q. I am a single dad with full custody of two pre-teen daughters. I have no idea how to talk to them about the “womanly facts of life.” My mother is gone, and I have no close female friends. What do I do?
Panelist Mike Ramsey said, “Communication on any subject is based on what relationships you have with the other parties. Obviously, the father can’t relate to some of the issues his daughters are dealing with, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be supportive and help get them to resources they need.
Q. My brother is a recently-single parent taking care of three children ages five, nine and 11. The children are becoming unkempt-looking. And they all seem out of sorts. I have asked my brother if he needs help, and he says, “No.” He has gone from a happy individual to a withdrawn, isolated man. I am concerned and am not sure what to do.
The panelists noted that the question does not explain the reason for the brother recently becoming a single brother.
Q. I’m a single mother living in a small apartment building. A young woman, who I suspect is also a single mother, has just moved in with her toddler. I think she has a job, and the times I’ve seen her, she has looked very tired. We’ve never met. Would it be inappropriate for me to ask her if I could be of help?
“It would be very appropriate for this woman to reach out to her neighbor, especially since she thinks the neighbor might be isolated and alone,” panelist Denise Continenza said.
Q. My 11-year-old son has not seen his father in 10 years after I divorced his father when I learned he was a drug addict. I am happily remarried. My son has a stepbrother. As my son enters his teen years, should give him information about his biological father? I am also worried about awakening a possible genetic predisposition to addiction.
Q. My daughter has children from a previous marriage. She has recently remarried. Her in-laws are buying expensive and not necessarily age-appropriate gifts for the grandchildren on birthdays and holidays. I don’t want to get into a spending war with them, but ’m not sure how to handle this. I don’t want to become the cheap grandparent.
The first question asked by the panel was: “What does the daughter feel about this situation?” It may not bother her and-or she may not be aware that it bothers her parents.
Civic Theatre of Allentown is presenting a winning double-header of parodies for the 2019 holiday season, with “A Christmas Carole 1944” on the main stage, based on Charles Dickens’ sublime classic “A Christmas Carol” and, just across 19th Street, the adult comedy “Who’s Holiday!,” with the main character borrowed from Dr. Seuss’ delightful story of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
For the past 20 years, the professional acting ensemble of Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, has presented its “Christmas City Follies” to help audiences celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, while satirizing the commercialization and human foibles that continue to distract from the true meaning of the holidays.
Directed by Jp Jordan, and utilizing original vaudeville-style sketches filled with humor, music and shopping carts, the “Follies,” through Dec. 22, is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of shopping, package-wrapping and party-going.