It seems like the heat wave may have sent some folks a little strange in Yelp Town Leeds, but regardless, it doesn't stop us from having a right old party. In fact, it's an excuse to celebrate given how little sunshine we usually see, though it was with trepidation that people ascended the stairs to this latest installment of Elite event excellence... Murder was the word on everyone's lips, and suspicions were high, as the evening began. With snacks aplenty laid out for everyone to nibble, the scene was set, and the detectives were en force as everyone dove into the noir-esque underworld created by Spice Yorkshire.
On this fine Tuesday evening, over forty folks turned out to join in the epic quest: who killed Toby Mory? That's right, there was a murderer afoot, and no one was leaving the building until the mystery was solved. As folks arrived, they were given a specially crafted menu for the evening, with a choice of three delectable cocktails to sip during the evening. With the option of choosing between a Brockmans & Ginger; Brockmans Gin and ginger ale, with a lemon twist and blackberry, Cariel Vanilla Temptation; Cariel Vanilla Vodka and cloudy apple juice, or Bulldog London Lemonade; Bulldog Gin, lemon juice and sugar, topped with soda, it was a tough decision to pick which drink for the initial supping. After a tipple and a mingle, it was time for the suspects to assemble, in one hell of an epic line up.
Our hosts for the proceedings, Smokestack, were much obliged in whipping up the whims of every yelper, and the talented Tom barely tired of crafting up the cracking cocktails. Once everyone had picked their initial drinks, Katy welcomed and introduced everyone to The Roost, Smokestack's top floor: a fantastic party space for hire, and where the party really gets started on a Friday and Saturday night. (Their funk and soul DJs are not to be missed.) Then Rob, of Spice Yorkshire, took charge to lead the investigation that everyone was there for: The Murder Mystery. After explaining about Spice, a social and adventure, activity club where you can engage in all kinds of events from pub quizzes, to rock climbing, to sky diving, he called forth his 'suspects' for the evening to begin.
This fine night we were transcended from Leeds, way up north to the Scottish Highlands, for a nefarious tale of Murder In The Distillery. Things kicked off to a marvellous start, with our six suspects introducing themselves to the crowd, in accents that ranged from a near-perfect Scottish lilt, to a Sean Connery carry-on, to an elderly English gent, to a Jamaican growl! Each suspect read their parts to the teams, folks having been divided into six groups, to showcase the characters before the first round of questioning was to begin. After some utterly stellar performances, the characters returned to their groups for a right ruddy grilling.
As the rounds of questioning played out, yelpers discovered the detectives within themselves, often running off script in the determination to reveal the ultimate answer: whodunnit? In between endless rounds of drinks (thanks to the fantastic Smokestack and sponsors) the grilling got ever more heated, with demands of, "what was your relationship with Toby Mory?", "so you were really angry with him then!", and "you really HATED HIM didn't you!" Of course, this inspired the actors within our suspects, who were virtuoso in their banter and backchat with the would-be-inspectors. In between ridiculous stories about "haggi" (real life creatures that live on the highlands of Scotland) and tales of the "Loch Mess" monster (who leaves the loch to breed with the Loch Ness) there was more mirth had than a Scotsman might enjoy at lock-in at a distillery. As the laughter and libations multiplied at speed, each team got one step closer with their clues.
Once the questiong and cavorting had finished, there was time for one final plea from our yelpers under suspicion, before the teams were to decide once and for all. In an intense 10 minute countdown the facts and figures were scrutinised, each detail digested, each quotation queried, and finally the guesses were taken in by Detective Rob W, before he finally divulged who had committed the dastardly deed. As Detective Rob W read off the innocents from the list, suspect Barnaby decked him out with the surprise Inspector outfit, and applaud was abound for everyone who took part. In turn, each suspect was let off the hook to cheers of triumph and boos of dismay, until it came down to the final two. Then at last, came the big reveal: It was none other than the abominable April K, who was of course clapped in handcuffs to our detective!
In an all out showdown, but one team claimed victory – and I promise it was no fix: team Joseph K, Benjamin W, Amy, Jim E, Barnaby A, and Rowena H took all the glory for their excellent sleuthing! Of course, in reality, everyone was a winner for being involved in such an immensely amusing evening, and all the suspects received a treat for their fantastic efforts in their roles. In one final announcement to wrap up the evening, everyone was invited to sup a few more on the second floor of Smokestack, for one final photo opportunity – since Leeds so loves a dress up. With a few more delectable drinks from the fine staff at Smokestack in hand, everyone who joined in the after party had a turn to pose as the inspector, before bidding the night adieu.
An ineffable thanks goes to our most fabulous and hardworking hosts, Katy and Tom of Smokestack, Rob W of Spice Yorkshire, our fabulous drinks providers Bulldog Gin, Brockmans Gin and Cariel Vanilla Vodka, and as ever, our wonderful photographer Matthew Kitchen. You can catch up on all the reviews here, check the beauteous pictures here, and see what's the goss right here. It's always a pleasure, never a chore, but this time – it really was murder! Thanks Yelp Leeds, you utterly rock, and I'll see you on the Yelp side. Yelp on, Yelp strong! (And don't judge April K by her character, she's a stand up sort usually!)
Tatty bye, Rowena H
Graham – Mac Theknife
Clare – Paula Nother
Barnaby A – Ben Nevis
Louise C – Iona Fiddle
Ben H – Blast McGrouse
April K – Misti Harr
Louise C – Iona Fiddle