FRONT ROW CENTER

Guest Reviewer—Harriet Hart

No Clue? The Stage Play

 

front-rowWhen regular reviewer Michael Warren asked me to take his place and review No Clue? for this issue of the Ojo, I had no clue that he was actually in the play.To my amusement, Michael gave an excellent performance as Colonel Mustard, the doddery military man with a weakness for the ladies which lands him in big trouble – the victim of blackmail, like everyone else in this Whodunit. The question really is Who Didn’t?!

Director Roseann Wilshere describes the play as a “hysterical send up”, and explains in the program notes that it is “an adaptation of a screenplay, adapted from the board game (Clue), adapted from the classic film Murder by Death adapted from Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie.”  That’s about as easy to figure out as the plot – in which eight unsuspecting dinner guests are invited to a lonely mansion on a hill by Wadsworth, the butler, only to discover that they are all being blackmailed by Mr. Boddy who soon becomes a dead body, followed by the cook, the fetching French maid, a passing motorist, a cop, and a telegram girl.

The bodies pile up, the dinner guests panic and suspicion runs rampant as the amused audience tries (but not too hard) to figure out who killed whom and why. They’re too busy laughing at the corny jokes and the antics of the excellent cast.

Director Wilshere is to be commended for the fast pace (which reminded me of my all-time favourite murder mystery film Arsenic and Old Lace). The cast did a fine job. I particularly enjoyed Mr. Green’s hysterical denials of any wrong doing and Miss Scarlett’s world weary cynicism. Despite the fact some actors like Pat Carroll have over 20 roles under their belts and others like Candace Luciano are brand new to the stage, there wasn’t a wooden performance in the lot.

The set worked, the props were suitably dangerous (nooses, handguns, heavy metal candlesticks and the like) and the costumes were wonderful. Each dinner guest was dressed to match their pseudonym – Miss Scarlett in a red glittery dress and boa, Mrs. Peacock in peacock blue with feathers in her hair, Professor Plum wearing a totally purple ensemble – shirt, tie, jacket, pants and Colonel Mustard in a mustard-colored military jacket complete with medals. Wardrobe mistress Karen Eichler is to be congratulated.

The special effects by Sandy Appelbaum and Richard Bansbach, the sound by Emma Bergh-Apton and the lighting by Zane Pumiglia and Brad Dobko all added to the suspense: we were treated to claps of thunder, hooting owls, off stage screams and voices emanating from secret passageways while the lights went on and off thanks to the electrical storm.

I conducted an on-the-spot survey during intermission; people described No Clue? as “cute,” “enjoyable” and said they thought the actors were to be especially complimented for their facial expressions and energetic performances.  It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Director Wilshire confessed that “we laughed so much rehearsing it and rewriting it for the stage that all I can hope is that you (the audience) get at least as much out of watching it was we all did in creating it.”  Madam, your wish has been granted – the audience and this reviewer had a ball. Well done, cast and crew!

 

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