Colonel Mustard, with the candlestick, in the conservatory.
Yes, it’s Parker Brothers’ campy murder mystery game of Clue. The
musical version. And that’s even campier than the game. It was actually on
Broadway. If you missed it, that might be because it only ran for 29
performances. It’s not a work of art, but it’s a pretty funny, corny comedy
with some excellent opportunities for a group of good character actors. As they
so happen to have at Central York High School in Pennsylvania.
Those character actors take on three-dimensional versions of
the cards in the game. And there actually are cards used. Each character’s card
hangs above each actor at the beginning and end of the acts, and smaller
versions of those cards are chosen by three volunteers at the start of “the
game.” Mr. Boddy (the corpse) allows each volunteer to take a card for the
murderer, the weapon, or the room, being first instructed not to look at the
card they’ve chosen (an instruction amusingly ignored by a couple of the sneaky,
curious volunteers). And then, let the game and the murder commence. But pay
attention, as you will have the chance to solve the crime as the clues are
Darrian Rivera is our soon-to-be dead narrator. He
takes his inevitable death in stride, his easygoing arrogance and coldness
making him an apropos narrator for the game as well as an apropos murder victim
as he shrewdly infuriates all his guests, making everyone a potential killer.
Even Mrs. White? The loyal maid? Emily Shuff leaves
no doubt of her murderous capabilities, her charming cockney accent giving way
to a not-so-subtle cockney temper as the hilarious actress goes postal in her
kitchen in Life Is A Bowl of Pits. But what about the sleazy Mr. Green? Sean
Zortman is a riot with his voice and body language as a cliché-challenged
embezzler who talks like a classic B-movie gangster. Unless it was a crime of
passion! Enter the lovely, scorned, and amusing Miss Scarlet (Kelsey L.
Smith) who has revenge on her mind, with Scarlet and Green teaming up to
consider a smorgasbord of possible weaponry in Everyday Devices. Mrs.
Peacock has an axe to grind as well, with Abby Snook lending her
beautiful voice to Once a Widow. Or was it, after all, Colonel Mustard? John
Feldmann is exactly as you’d imagined the old codger, a war hero in his own
mind whose reminisces about his imagined glory days may just give him the
courage to do something about the man with whom he has an old score to settle.
But how will the murder be solved? Enter a new character to
Clue, the Detective! Alesia Knott is the hardnosed detective who is not
intimidated by the other characters making fun of her for not being in the
instruction book and deriding her as a lost piece from another game. But she is a
little sensitive about people looking at her (she’s got a few psychological
issues to work through). Alesia has her finger on the pulse of this character,
and her hilarious song-and-dance with Professor Plum (Michael Loughran)
may be the best scene of the show as Plum tries to seduce her, pretty
successfully, giving us a glimpse of the uptight detective’s wilder side
simmering just beneath the surface.
The show took place in Central York’s fairly new,
spacious, state-of-the-art theatre – the host of this year’s highly successful
Pennsylvania State Thespian Festival that included three other full-length
productions: Bellefonte’s Night of the Foolish Moon, North Penn’s The
Crucible, and Pennsbury’s Little Shop of Horrors.
Performed November 30, 2007.
National Youth Theatre
~ Cast ~
Mr. Boddy: Darrian Rivera
Mrs. Peacock: Abby Snook
Professor Plum: Michael Loughran
Miss Scarlet: Kelsey L. Smith
Colonel Mustard: John Feldmann
Mrs. White: Emily Shuff
Mr. Green: Sean Zortman
Detective: Alesia Knott
Director: Paige Nelson and Mark Zortman
Creative Design: Cindy Owens
Technical Director: Seth Werner
Choreographer: Paige Nelson
Stage Managers: John Dumpman and Sarah Smith