By Wendy Carson
With all the recent variants (I find the Simpsons version very amusing) as well as a modern upgrade of the original, I think it’s safe to say most of us have played the game of “Clue” at least once. Add to this the widespread interest in murder mysteries (real and fictional) and that the board game is the subject of a film with a large cult following, and you have the perfect recipe for a hilariously good night of theater.
Adapted to the stage by Sandy Rustin, based on the movie script by Jonathan Lynn, the delightfully kooky script has been taken up by Indiana Repertory Theatre director Benjamin Hanna and brought together a dream team of local and regional talents to elevate “Clue” to previously unknown comical heights. Though the plot and characters echo Lynn’s screenplay, there are numerous brilliant additions (apparently the house was built by the Parker Brothers) to keep you laughing anew. Even the game board shows up at one point, as a handy map to the labyrinthine mansion.
Scenic designer Czerton Lim pulls out all the creative stops in giving us a set with multiple slamming doors, secret passageways, moving walls, and tributes to the game and movie (yes, that is Tim Curry as Mr. Boddy in the painting).
John Taylor Philips brings out all of Wadsworth’s condescending arrogance in his turn as the butler and ersatz host of the evening’s events. Andrea San Miguel brings all of the maid Yvette’s cheeky mischief and charm. Henry Woronicz plays up Colonel Mustard’s dotage, yet keeps him somewhat austere. Emjoy Gavino subtly shows Mrs. White’s predatory instincts while still keeping her endearing. Beethovan Oden’s turn as Professor Plum highlights the character’s belief that he is the smartest man in any room. Emily Berman’s version of Miss Scarlet is even more sultry and sassy than expected. IRT favorite Ryan Artzberger easily adapts to each of his three roles, even with mortal wounds.
Eric Sharp takes full advantage of his character’s expansion in this script and brings a delightful bumbling nerdiness to Mr. Green. Claire Wilcher adds another level of comic genius to her spectacular performance as the seemingly prim Mrs. Peacock. Not to be outdone, Devan Mathias plays three different roles with such gusto that two of them have to be killed to keep her from stealing the show.
Whether you have seen the movie, played the game or just want to see a show that will have you laughing almost non-stop, get a “Clue,” playing through May 20 on the IRT mainstage, 140 W. Washington St., downtown Indianapolis. NOTE: Dressing up as any of the characters (old or new), also adds another level of enjoyment to the experience. (I was one of many “Peacocks” on opening night.)
Get info and tickets at irtlive.com.