Review: Academy's 'Clue' A Good Laugh Spiced With Mystery

By: Joan Aucoin

Whodunit? “Clue” audience members are each given pencils to fill in their best guesses upon entering the Academy of Performing Arts. On the back of “Clue” programs six suspects are listed, six weapons, nine rooms, each with little check-off boxes. Pay attention. The murder mystery begins to the sounds of a radio, interrupted by lightning and thunder, and the sounds of a barking dog.

Yvette, a stunningly gorgeous maid, greets all. The Cook announces dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m. sharp while flailing a meat clever. Dashing Wadsworth the butler greets each guest, very proper and polite. Colonel Mustard is proudly wearing his medals while hiding those photographs. Mrs. White is a bit haughty, never pleased to meet anyone. Mr. Greene appears meek, very timid, with a few secrets of his own. Professor Plum is very overly dramatic, “Such a pleasure to see me!” Miss Scarlet is lovely in a golden gown, flirty, cigarette in hand. Mrs. Peacock is the well dressed politician’s wife with lots of talk of Washington, D.C. Champagne is served. The elegant dinner table is set for seven. One seat is empty. The game is on! Why are we all here?

Confusion reigns as bodies drop, and a few unanticipated folks appear and disappear. Was Mr. Boddy killed twice? What about the lady whose car broke down, and the singing telegram? Doors swing open, bodies appear. A bell rings, it’s the police, and an accidental cop. Talks of scandals, twirling suppositions, falling bodies, and a case for the FBI.

Based on the Hasbro board game and the 1985 film, “Clue” is a fun night for one and all, just when we all need a good laugh spiced with mystery. I particularly enjoyed families laughing out loud, seniors re-living the well-known tale, and close friends who offered their own critiques: fellow educator and performer Kim: “Whimsical, cast looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Well staged (Esme Van Buskirk). Each quirky character is fully realized. Intricate detailed sets (Peter Eldridge). Original music punctuated the scenes well (Jonathan Scott Ryder).” “Two thumbs up! How important it is to come to live theater. A fun evening out, how entertaining,” spoke Wynn and her dad Ken. “We are coming again with friends!”

Jeanne and I just enjoyed the parade of outlandish characters floating across the stage in and out, no intermissions, and players up close while being thoroughly intriguing. “Clue” was my favorite family board game growing up. How fun to relive it once again, and in live theater!

Bravo to director Karen Hepinstall, artistic director Judy Hamer, and the fascinating performers who do it for the love of theater. Get your pencils ready! Take notes. Whodunit? Who is your favorite character, and room, and scene?

“Clue” features an all-star cast: Sean Whalen as Wadsworth, Frederic Carpenter as Colonel Mustard, Lizzy Smythe as Mrs. White, Alison Hyder as Mrs. Peacock, Amanda Gordon as Miss Scarlet, Ryan Van Buskirk as Mr. Green, Bragan Thomas as Professor Plum, Jasmine Netherwood as Yvette, Peter Eldridge as Mr. Boddy and Chief of Police, Ann Carpenter as the Cook, Motorist, and Singing Telegram, Michael Barry as the Accidental Cop.

There are many timely jokes of politics, life in Washington, D.C., the FBI, World Health Organization, etc.  “You all have one thing in common. You are all being blackmailed!" Go see “Clue” just for a night of fun!

“Clue” continues through May 29. info@academyplayhouse.org.

DETAILS:

“Clue”

At The Academy of Performing Arts, Orleans

Through May 29

Information and reservations: 508-255-5510, www.academyplayhouse.org.