Clue: The Musical is an interactive musical is based on the popular board game of the same name.
The plot revolves around solving the murder of Mr. Boddy at his mansion that is occupied by several possible suspects; Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, Mrs. White, Colonel Mustard and Mr. Green.
At the start of the show, several audience members are called up to the stage to draw from three stacks of very large cards. Within each stack, a card represents one of six suspects, six locations and six murder weapons. During the selection process neither the cast, selectors from the audience or the audience members sees the cards chosen. They are placed in a sealed envelope which is prominently displayed on stage prior to the mystery beginning.
Mr. Boddy gives clues to the audience to help solve the mystery of “his murder” which they can note on a form provided, with pencil, in the program.
Once the deed finally takes place, a hard-nosed female detective shows up to unravel the mystery and mayhem. Even after the culprit confesses, a surprise twist awaits.
The Summer Company was established in 1993 as a creative outlet for people working in, studying or just generally enamored with theatre. This production of Clue puts their talents to good use.
Despite Clue being rather unfunny and fairly “punny”, the direction of Justin Sines brought a lot of laughs on opening night. This says a lot about the quality of the glistening performances of the cast as well since the Genesius Theatre’s air conditioning system was one character that didn’t show up for this performance.
Notable standout Nathaniel Yost is Mr. Boddy. Yost is a senior at Duquesne University who majors in the interesting combination of Theatre Arts and Theology. He has nearly a dozen shows to his credit, which is evident in the quality of his very watchable performance and comfortable stage presence.
Pittsburgh native and first time Summer Company actor Tonilyn Longo Jackson plays Mrs. Peacock. Her varied experience as an actor, director and musician bring life and a touch of zany to Mrs. Peacock’s character.
Unfortunately, Jill Jeffrey, as the overcoat wearing Detective, doesn’t set foot on stage during the first half of the show. Jeffery is another example of where a background of diverse theatrical experiences really shows. Her Detective is a funny rhyming, game quoting machine, sort of a hybrid between Peter Falk’s maddeningly inquisitive Colombo and Peter Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau. When she is on stage Clue comes alive.
The rest of the cast has some strong voices and nice comedic skills. Musical Director and Accompanist Brian Buckley mans the piano from up center and is never out of the action. He also has a vital cameo role in the show.
Costumes by Jill Jeffery fit the show perfectly, Mr. Boddy’s smoking jacket and Mr. Plum’s purple jacket are nice touches. Jeffery’s choices bring the one-dimensional game characters to life visually.
Though the lighting seemed a bit off on opening night, with lights and actors trying to find each other.
John E. Lane Jr.’s set design is a nicely rendered and well executed three-dimensional game board world in the cozy and modern Genesius Theatre.
For an evening of light entertainment that showcases the depth and experience of Pittsburgh’s local theatrical community, Summer Company’s Clue is well worth your time. The ensemble and crew had fun which translated to an enjoyable evening for the audience.
Clue: The Musical by the Summer Company. Directed by Justin Sines at the new Genesius Theater on the campus of Duquesne University. Performances run June 15th through the 25th
Tickets: $15 general admission, $10 seniors, $5 students available at the Box Office or online at http://www.thesummercompany.com/purchase-tickets
Note: The Genesius Theatre is located in the heart of campus adjacent to the main parking garage. Take the garage elevator to the 7th floor street level exit on the south side of the garage, the theatre is directly across Locust Street.
Special thanks to the Summer Company for the complementary tickets.
Photos courtesy of Dale Hess and Bruce Story-Camp