Review by Terry Gaisin
Was it Col. Mustard in the lounge or Mrs. Peacock in the Study? Maybe it was Miss Scarlet in the Kitchen. Obviously, the above tip-offs suggest we’re talking about ‘CLUE’… the iconic board game.
In the ‘did you know’ department…Did you know the game originated as a time-passer during the WWII London Blitz? Post-war, it was marketed a couple of years later and then modified for the American market.
Almost two decades ago, a five-member collaboration turned it into an off-mainstream cabaret-style musical, incorporating audience participation by determining the outcome of 216 possible endings. Shooting Star Theatrics is presenting this charmingly diverting evening at its Dreamlight Studio on Anchor Road until April 21st. The venue is intimate; the staging – slick; and the performing octet is more than adequate – vocally and as thespian.
Director Sara Chappel makes sure that her charges stay in character whether as part of the ensemble or during the numerous soliloquies wherein they’re supposed to offer the audience insight into their individual motives for mayhem. Costumes and demeanor underscore the six antagonists as well as exaggerated body language and poseur-isms. The musical accompaniment is by keyboarder Steve McRae.
The so-called plot deals with a well-hated host, Mr. Boddy; his five guests and the housekeeper; then in Act II – the homicide detective. Boddy; portrayed by James Clemenger also acts as the M.C. and transition between each vignette by the suspects. A veddy British Mustard is Jeff Gordon, while Francesca Brugnano vamps out a widow-spider Mrs. Peacock with the requisite feathers. The young & sleazy Miss Scarlet is Elisa Sorbara whose dance training is obvious in her every move. Professor Plum is Stephen Madill and his character’s pedantic syntax made this writer wondering if he’d consider a part-time job as O.A.R.’ s re-editor!
Luke Fillion androgynously plays the maid; with Sean Moir rounding out the list as Mr. Green – the bankroller. Moir’s mobile face and range of expression; especially his glint-eyed gaze noticeably enhance his character interpretation much like Brugnano’s stare or Sorbara’s fluidity. The trench-coated Chappel is only on-stage for Act II but she gets the best puns and zinger-lines.
The back page of the program plus a golf-score pencil is for the audience to mark their own choices. How did this writer do? Suffice to say that “Mr. Whipple, in the bathroom with the CHARMIN™ didn’t come anywhere near ‘cutting the mustard!!!