Review: The Black Fedora

Since my ten year residency in Charleston, nothing has come close to the experience I participated in called The Black Fedora. The name itself comes from the type of hats that were worn by detectives. Not exactly a theatre and not quite a romantic restaurant. This combination of pub and comedy-mystery theatre is what makes this venue stand out in the country’s top rated city.

Located on Church Street just a block down from North Market, The Black Fedora is a hidden gem that reminds me of the back pubs of Ireland and England. The opaque windows are almost an invite to see what’s on the other side. Once engaged, one is greeted immediately and seated into either round tables or a booth. Aligning the walls are portraits of famous investigators, both human and fictional. (Yes, there is a prize if you get them all correct). Due to the capacity, all performances are within the audience, making it the most intimate.

Before the lights are dimmed, the hosts pass out scripts to willing volunteers while drinks and snacks are served. For ACT I, the hosts become transformed into their characters and are introduced usually with a song and/or dance. Their outfits were more than likely brought in from home or local costume shops but give off a homey feel. During their performances they humorously picked on audience members and use them as props. ACT II is all about audience participation. Those with scripts get to indulge in their creative side through acting, singing, and/or dancing. At one point there was a conga line with the cast! At the end of ACT II the audience gets a stab at who killed who with what and with what intension. (Yes, there is also a prize involved).

Without a doubt, I will be returning to this venue. The layout was a perfect size for engaging with the audience, which is what truly makes this show a memorable performance. Tickets are between $20-$25 and non-refundable but well worth it. The quality of alcoholic choices for $5 was outstanding. They do a wonderful job of maintaining the venue as hosts, bartenders, and actors all in one. Each week is a different performance so you’ll be able to enjoy it through a different aspect. What I enjoyed most was the crowd winding down and genuinely having a good time. It’s also a good place to scout for hidden talent as well. Overall, five out of five stars.

The Black Fedora Website