Clue: The Musical
Sometimes the muse works in strange ways. There are books inspired by TV shows, movies inspired by amusement park rides, and now there’s even a musical inspired by a board game. It’s Clue: The Musical, in the Brewery Arts Center, with a wrench.
The story takes place at Boddy Manor, where a group of unusual characters has gathered for the weekend. From saucy serial widow Mrs. Peacock (Karen Chandler) to resentful English housekeeper Mrs. White (Jason Macy), every one of the guests has a connection to Mr. Boddy—and a reason for wanting him dead. Scene by scene, the color-coded characters discover their shared ill will toward their host, and form alliances to get their revenge. At the end of Act I, the murder takes place, but the details of the crime are a mystery.
That’s where the audience comes in. Each program contains a grid with the suspects, weapons and rooms listed. Playing along with the Detective (Catherine Hearn), the audience receives clues and hints about the murder, crossing out suspects as they’re eliminated and marking their guesses as to whodunit. By the end, the audience members should have enough information to solve the mystery, if they’ve been paying attention. Audience members also randomly pick cards to determine the solution just before the show; with 216 possible endings, it’s a different crime every time.
Naturally, the audience participation is the main draw, but there are several noteworthy performances by the ladies. Karen Chandler, as Mrs. Peacock, is hilariously sleazy, sucking on a cigarette holder and lecherously eyeing every man in her path. Her solo number, “Once A Widow,” the sordid tale of her many marriages, is a high point of the show. Jason Macy (not a lady, but he plays one onstage), an audience favorite, hams it up as Mrs. White. Mincing around in a white dress and bonnet, Macy fires off provocative double entendres in a screechy Cockney accent, and he isn’t afraid to show a bit of leg in the process. Andie Anderson, as Miss Scarlet, sports a permanent pout and a squeaky Jersey accent—and an enjoyably strong singing voice.
With ladies like these dominating the board, the male characters are, unfortunately, upstaged. Kevin Karp, as Mr. Boddy, is engaging and has a good presence, but Colonel Mustard, Mr. Green and Professor Plum are mostly forgettable and don’t get many good lines. “Seduction Deduction,” a tedious and too-long duet between Plum (Steve Andrus) and the Detective, had the audience fidgeting for the next appearance of Mrs. Peacock and Mrs. White. For the most part, however, the performances are entertaining and move the plot along nicely.
Since the ending is different with every show, it’s no spoiler to say that the culprit this time was Mr. Green, in the study, with the rope. Sadly, this detective only figured out one of the three. But even unsuccessful sleuths can take comfort in knowing that proceeds go toward sending two students to next year’s International Thespian Festival, as well as continuing programs at the Brewery Arts Center. Clue: The Musical is one game where everyone’s a winner.