The UTM Forensics Society tried their hand at thrilling spectators with their Murder Mystery Charity Dinner on February 27 in the Blind Duck Pub. Part of the night was devoted to a murder mystery play called “Criminal Mind”, written and directed by Tiffany Lee.

The script was sometimes shocking and emotional, but the comic relief and the fictional detective’s determination for justice in this murder mystery alleviated the gravity of the subject of murder. Lee set the play on our very own campus, which hit close to home and familiarized the audience with the characters. The actors’ excellent performances combined with the interesting plot and relatable setting compensated for the simplicity of the props.

After an introduction by host Tiffany Tse, vice-president of the UTM Forensics Society, the play began with a very dramatic first scene in which Detective Barclay barged in on a student named Diane and questioned her on the death of a young woman named Kate. Other suspects included Kate’s boyfriend, Peter, and Jackie, a swimmer who knew Kate and witnessed a quarrel between Diane and Peter. Evidence of Kate’s murder surfaced when the detective received a phone call explaining that a bag of Kate’s wet clothes had been found in Jackie’s dorm room.

Peter was very convincing in his epic defence throughout the play, but it was the detective who ultimately proved the shrewder of the two, eventually coaxing a confession out of Peter. A flashback scene explained Kate’s death: a jealous Diane told Peter that Kate had been unfaithful to him, and the two got into an argument. The anger physically manifested itself and Diane shoved the bathroom door, which pushed Kate into the bathtub where she hit her head and drowned in the water. Peter then proposed taking Kate’s wet clothes and leaving them in Jackie’s room and dumping Kate’s body in the swimming pool, thus making it look like she drowned there. In the next scene Peter was arrested, surprised and confused considering Detective Barclay’s earlier promise of help. The detective didn’t neglect Diane’s involvement in the murder, calling for a search warrant and squad car to her dorm room.

John Lee was a hilarious standout as Detective Barclay, who was vigilant in his search for justice and enforcing “…the law!” to protect the defenceless.  And he was just one of an impressive cast. All of the people involved in the play were first-year students, and director Tiffany Lee singlehandedly brought together the cast and wrote the play. In our conversation after the play, Lee really impressed me with her pride in the play yet nonchalance about how she had quickly strung the event together.

The proceeds from the charity dinner were donated to “Childfind”, a charity in Ontario that provides families aid in the search for their missing children. Lee says she intended this thematic relation to her play. All in all, the Murder Mystery Charity Dinner was a success. It featured a great narrative about justice, and sponsored it as well.