Clue – The Musical (Cluedo in Australia)

‘Clue – the Musical’, or as the Australian name should be ‘Cluedo – the Musical’. The book was based on Parker’s world-famous board game and written by Peter DePietro, with the musical score being added by Galen Blum, Wayne Barker and Vinnie Martucci; the lyrics, which are packed with jokes and clues, were added by Tom Chiodo.

Yes, this fun packed innovative idea for a play has all your old favourite murderers, plus the lead pipe and the ballroom! With six suspects, six weapons and six venues simple maths gives you over 200 possible combinations.

This novel two-hour play with musical numbers can be seen at the Phoenix Theatre, Memorial Hall, 435 Carrington Street in Hamilton Hill. The shows are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7.30 (new time) until 30th November; there is also a Sunday evening matinée.

The scene: is Mr Body’s family mansion

The set: The curtains open to show a line of six, 2-metre high, cream ‘sentry boxes’ with the trademark word ‘Clue’ in red at the top. These boxes roll towards the front of the stage. Each rotates slowly to show a room from the house and a plan displayed. One side of the stage apron was a library and the other side a conservatory.

A lectern at the rear of the stage held the envelope holding the secrets of the murder.

This set was designed and built by Ben Albert and Krispin Maesalu.

The fun lighting was well designed by Dylan Dorotic and operated by Max Conroy. The AV was designed by Ben Albert.

Stage manager Max Conroy kept the show moving at the cracking pace.

Standing next the boxes are the characters who have gathered in the Boddy family mansion. They are Mr Boddy’s new wife Mrs Peacock (Breanna Redhead), Professor Plum (Charlie Darlington), Miss Scarlett (Emily Botje), Colonel Mustard  (Edzelle Abrio), Mr Green (James Dalgleish) and the alcoholic housekeeper, Mrs White (AJ Winters).

Mr Boddy discloses to the audience that he suspects he is about to meet a horrible end at the hands of one of these visitors. Mr Boddy (Krispin Maesalu) then approaches the audience and asks for three volunteers. The first chose a card from the selection of possible murderers, the second from the murder weapons and the third the location. The selected cards are put in an envelope – unseen – and placed on a lectern.

There follows Mr Boddy’s final hours with plenty of clues, hilarious dialogue and general mayhem before the fast thinking Detective (Karin Macri) is called in.

Over the years, the play’s director Dylan Dorotich has proved her theatrical skills, as a musical director, costume supervisor, set designer, lighting technician and of course her main talent – acting. With numerous possible solutions, every show is different. The actors had to learn the main script but then several minor scripts to suit the cards selected on the night. The cast must be capable of smooth interaction with other actors as the likely murder surfaces.

This show relies upon a good pace to keep the excitement moving along. As the detective moved in and gathered the clues, the suspects went through a chase scene in a style reminiscent of The Keystone Cops ( 100 years ago, as the cast filled the aisles, stage and even visiting the foyer.

The actors really inhabited their characters as they sang, acted and danced their way through the production.

Choreographer Ashleigh Winter has created slick, punchy dance routines that brought a smile. She even managed to get the non-dancers to surprise themselves at their most professional newly learned skill. Musical Director Ben Albert had the cast singing powerfully and with clues being hidden in the lyrics, most clearly. The orchestra comprised an electric cello – Amanda Reynolds, drums / percussion – Jake Isard and keyboard – Aidan Bridges. There were no memorable songs, but the incidental music also acted as a wonderful soundscape to most of the show.

Krispin Maesalu’s costumes had to make the characters instantly obvious, for example Colonel Mustard being a challenge, appeared with an official uniform and a chest of medals.

Can you guess the chosen killer? A most enjoyable night, skilfully handled.