Next weekend the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in Germantown–Philly’s only Victorian house museum–is having its annual game of live action Clue. This year it involves the death of Oliver Twist, that obnoxious nub who steals the limelight from the Artful Dodger.
From my Inquirer piece, which my editors titled (delightfully): “Mr. Dickens in the study with a rope”:
The problem with Charles Dickens’ novels is that the good guys are almost always terribly dull, but persist in winning in the end anyway. Wouldn’t it be more fun if, say, Oliver Twist met a grisly end and the reader had to figure out who was on the right end of the bludgeon (or pistol)?
The folks who run the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion have embraced the general concept with “Twisted: A Dickensian Mystery.” It’s a sort of live game of Clue, in which the audience must figure out who murdered everyone’s favorite orphan (and with what).
The suspects include a rogue’s gallery of Dickens’ creations, ranging from Fagin and Uriah Heep to the moldering Miss Havisham, complete with cobwebbed, mouse-bitten wedding cake. The action takes place in a Victorian house museum, amid a collection showing what life in the tree-lined “suburb” of Germantown was once like. The house boasts servants’ quarters, a hand-crank coffee grinder, and an original stone outhouse. (Creepiest accoutrement: “hair art,” which consists of a lock of curly tresses snipped from the head of a terminally ailing child and then framed.) After a tour of the murder scene, guests retire to the kitchen to nibble on refreshments and identify the killer.