The comedy/murder mystery dinner show in the Pacific Opera House played to a receptive crowd, but no more so than the couple selected for a cameo part in the performance.
The June 9 dinner theater was a parody on the interaction of Archie and Edith Bunker of the old “All in the Family” TV comedy.
In this theater-in-the-round revisit to the couple, with no props, Archie and Edith navigate a misunderstanding where Edith invites a group of wise guys who need a safe house for dinner to her and Archie’s home on a day that coincided with grandson Joey’s birthday.
Enter the Bex family, David, Tabitha and Hunter. As son-in-law Meathead, daughter Gloria and grandson Joey, the Bexes were meant to be silent foils to Edith’s misunderstanding of who she had invited to dinner. But the spontaneous responses brought so much laughter and applause that the trio found themselves in the center of the story.
To explain her hospitality, Edith encouraged the support of her daughter Gloria, Meathead and Joey with the refrain, “Isn’t that right Gloria?”
Another audience member, William Roberts, who was cast as George Jefferson, and introduced by Edith as being acquainted with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., also got caught up in the event.
When Archie mentioned George Jefferson for the third time, Roberts stepped into the spotlight.
“You don’t have any lines,” said John Vullo, who portrayed Archie.
“Don’t tell me. I’ve danced with Sammy Davis Jr. I know people,” Roberts ad-libbed.
Vullo and Delia Schindler operate Die Laughing Comedy Theater, which performs in the St. Louis region.
The duo writes every show, changing the scripts of each performance and distributes to each audience member a sheet with the name of their character’s name, description and lines if they were expected to speak. The June 9 performance was titled “All in the Family Mafia.”
The duo plans to return to the opera house with one of their original adventures of Lucy and Desi Arnaz.
The Bex family said they were not actors and had not planned to be part of the show, but looking for a fun night out.
“We just went with it,” said David.