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Murder Inn - Full Length Play, Comedy

Murder Inn

Howard Voland, Keith McGregor

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Full Length Play, Comedy

4m, 8f

ISBN: 9780874407945

"Features wonderful dialogue, a colorful, kooky cast of characters and a good dose of humor." - Everett Herald

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Author(s) | Now Playing | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play



120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - Contemporary

Settings Of Play -

The play takes place in the sitting room of the Barnsley Inn, a dilapidated eighteenth century inn somewhere in New England. The furnishings are old, worn and stained. The plaster is cracked and has patches that are discolored and flaking.


Interior Set

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


Alcohol, Gun Shots


Appropriate for all audiences


High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Large Stage, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

The first Grace and Doris Mystery Comedy is perfect for Halloween, or any other spot in your season. This delightful comedy features a cast of zany characters, a near-sighted, knife-throwing poltergeist, a Ouija board of doubtful veracity, thunder and lightning, screams in the dark and a satisfying body count.

Murder Inn is set in New England, at the Barnsley Inn, a dilapidated eighteenth century inn, which is supposedly haunted by Marco, a knife-throwing poltergeist. A group of tourists, on a tour-Ghosts and Ghouls of New England-is forced, by a storm, to make an unscheduled stop at the Barnsley. What looks to be an unpleasant and uncomfortable detour soon turns into a night of mayhem and madness as knives begin to pop up… in the most unexpected places. As the storm builds and the body count rises, the survivors try to figure out who done it. And even more important- who’s likely to have it done to them next?

Murder Inn…features wonderful dialogue, a colorful, kooky cast of characters and a good dose of humor. Plus, it appears that everyone involved is having a grand time, judging from last weekend’s opening performance...Murder Inn was written specifically for community theater, and this production’s mix of talent-experienced actors and several first-time performers-works well...Two of the characters who delighted the audience most were Grace and Doris, the gray-haired, energetic senior citizen duo of the tour. Believers in the ‘when I grow old, I can say just about anything I want’ school of behavior, they do just that. Whether bickering back and forth, or coming back with a purse full of knives after scouring the manor, their astute and quirky observations of every situation could give Seinfeld a run for his money.” – The Everett Herald

Murder Inn was first produced in Spring 2000 by Off the Wall Theatre, Monroe, Washington.



4m, 8f


Ensemble cast, Parts for Senior Actors


Martha, Agnes, Muriel, Patricia, Lawrence, Grace, and Doris all have a good bit of flexibility as to age, as long as they work as a group. Grace and Doris are older and wiser. Lawrence is distinguished…and he is of an age that Muriel, Patricia and Agnes would find attractive, especially since he is available. He also has to be old enough to be Todd’s father; and Martha has to be old enough to have a son Jake’s age — or if you want to take her older, she could be Jake’s grandmother with minimal script changes.


N/A (Not a musical)

JAKE TALBOT – (Mid to late 20s) Son of the owner of the Barnsley Inn. A sturdy, no-nonsense young man who takes care of the place for his mother. In good physical shape.
MARTHA TALBOT – (In her 50s) Owner of the Barnsley; cantankerous, short and plump with gray hair.
AGNES TATE – (Middle Aged, 40-50+) Meddlesome, antagonistic, sarcastic, inconsiderate. Everyone’s murder victim of choice. Dressed expensively, but not in the best of taste.
CAROLYN PICKETT – (In her 20s) Niece and traveling companion for Agnes; attractive, unassuming, and smartly dressed in slacks, blouse, and jacket.
ELLEN HALSEY – (Late 20s to early 30s) The tour guide, attractive and professional.
MURIEL LAMPMANN – “Middle Aged (40-50+)” Petite and…ethereal. A true believer in the occult. An airhead of sorts, but very sweet. Traveling alone.
PATRICIA SIMPSON - (Middle Agedm 40-50+) Reserved, nervous, always tense. Traveling alone.
TODD CURRIER – (In his 20s) Congenial, intelligent and well dressed in a casual way. He’s traveling with his father.
LAWRENCE CURRIER – (Mid to late 50s) A college professor on sabbatical, doing research for a book. Widowed in the last couple of years. Distinguished and intellectual.
GRACE SHARP – (60+) A retired school teacher; she’s petite and “fluffy,” and she looks helpless, which is by no means the case. Traveling with her longtime friend, Doris Brooks.
DORIS BROOKS – (60+) Retired nurse practitioner. Matter of fact and sarcastic. Traveling with Grace.
DONALD SCHULTZ – (In his 40s) The van driver. Physically either heavy or very thin. Morose.

Howard Voland

Howard Voland

Howard Voland is the co-author with Keith McGregor of the Grace and Doris Mystery Comedy series written for community theatre and featuring an ensemble cast and simple production values. Murder Inn is the first in the series, was first produced in 2000, and is published by Samuel French. Audition for Murder followed in 2003 and Dressing for Murder is slated for its first production in 2014. Mr. ... view full profile

Keith McGregor

Keith McGregor

Keith McGregor has been involved with theatre all of his adult life. He earned his BA in English and Fine Arts from Rice University in Houston and his MFA in Theatre Directing from the University of Houston. In addition to collaborating on the Grace and Doris Mystery Comedies for Community Theatre (which include Murder Inn, published by Samuel French) , Mr. McGregor has written a number of other ... view full profile

Now Playing
David Stephens 12/9/2015 2:08 AM
Neil Hornsey 10/26/2015 6:47 AM
The University of Kent Players have just finished this production and we have to say that it was a great success.  The play appealed to us because it had a good number of female characters and every character was relevant - none were just added to bulk out female numbers as many plays are.  Also, there was a good age range of people, though we all just used a bit of artistic licence there and it was the acting that fitted the part rather than the looks overall.

The play is well written, the characterisation is good and the plot was well structured and really moved along.  When rehearsing, we hadn't realised just how much humour was in there but the audiences certainly found it and the laughs counteracted the shocks!  No one worked out whodunnit, which is an advantage and the audience loved that.

We had great fun creating the Barnsley and all pitched in with costumes. You can take a look at some bits and the publicity on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/uokplayers including our teaser campaign of 'who will survive the Murder Inn?'

We had a great time and we would love to do the next 'Doris and Grace' adventure in the future!
Allen Price 1/4/2014 10:31 PM
Yes, some characters smoke-off stage. Older characters have bad habits. Yes, characters drink. It helps with the stress of being murdered (no one is stabbed or murdered onstage).  Yes, characters are older. This requires your actors to act and your make up artists to be creative and your costume designer to have fun and steal clothing from his or her grandmothers.

The cast of characters has a wide range of personalities. And if you allow your actors to experiment and play, you'll get some laughs.  Our actors had fun extending the personalities of their characters which made their characters easy to find and follow onstage.  Muriel and Agnes were fan favorites at end of each show.

The costumes are modern and can be easy to find, but our costume designer had fun creating Agnes's horrific look and Grace's grandmother outfit.  Although, I think her favorite was making Doris's costume.

The set can be simple or you can go overboard depending on where your talents are. But when you have a talented set director with a mind for details, you tend to go big.  If you go to the following link, you can see our interpretations of the set design:


Yes, the story does limit the age group of your audience because it has some complexity to it and of course there is murder in it.  I would say it is a PG rating. And it is difficult to guess the ending.  

Overall, have fun with it. There is a lot of room for creativity and originality and imagination.

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