Clue Review – The Game’s Afoot

CLUE Cast - Photo by Jason Niedle
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Little did anyone suspect that, when the Clue board game was developed, it would give birth to books, a film, a television series, a musical, and a stage play. The original board game was called Cluedo, devised in 1943 by the British board designer/musician Anthony E. Pratt as he sat sequestered in his home during the air raids sadly common to London during WW II. Due to shortages in supplies post-WW II, however, the first version of the board game wasn’t manufactured until 1949. It didn’t take long for Parker Bros. in the U.S. to develop their own version, Clue. Multiple editions later, characters, weapons, mansion rooms, and even methods of dispensing cards have changed – but the concept of the ultimate detective mystery has remained. So too has its popularity remained. Everyone wants to be Sherlock Holmes!

Rachel McLaughlan, Jeff Skowron, and Cassie Simone – Photo by Jeff Niedle

Based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn with writing adaptations by Sandy Rustin and additional material by Hunter Foster and Eric Price, CLUE has evolved into an uproarious 2017 comedy which has delighted audiences all over the world. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts carefully chose CLUE to welcome back audiences to live theater. What better choice than this side-splitting whodunit based on the 1985 cult classic film? This nearly post-pandemic time is the perfect moment to encourage people to enjoy themselves and laugh again. Like Anthony Pratt, who survived the bombings of WW II by cooking up an involving, clever, and often very funny study of people, CLUE will lead pandemic survivors back to theater.

CLUE cast – Photo by Jason Niedle

CLUE is set in 1954 and tells the riotously ridiculous tale of six individuals from different walks of life who are invited by the mysterious Mr. Boddy to dinner at his mansion not too far from Washington, D.C. It is a dark and stormy night when the invited guests arrive, and the weather couldn’t be better for a story of blackmail and murder. But these six people don’t know each other – and they seem to have nothing in common. Why have they received this invitation to a stranger’s home? Stiff-upper-lip butler Wadsworth (Jeff Skowron) and French maid Yvette (Cassie Simone) welcome the motley group, including Miss Scarlet (Sarah Hollis), Mrs. Peacock (Mary Birdsong), Mrs. White (Heather Ayers), Colonel Mustard (Harrison White), Professor Plum (Ted Barton), and Mr. Green (John Shartzer). Each with his own secret.

CLUE Cast – Photo by Jason Niedle

Director Casey Husion helms the tale with a light hand, a place where horror and death join to become black and hilarious in equal parts. The cast is appropriately energetic as they prance and scurry through the Boddy Manse which, by the way, is probably one of the major stars in the production, courtesy of scenic designer Lee Savage. There’s nothing like secret passages with hidden nooks and crannies to titillate the imagination. Jen Caprio’s costumes, Steven Young’s lighting, Cricket S. Myers’ sound, and Kailin McCoy’s hair/wig/makeup design significantly enhance the show. Special kudos to Jeff Skowron, who pulls all the disparate elements together – and also does a bang-up job of summarizing the play in six easy minutes! If you’re ready to chuckle, guffaw, and outright double over with laughter, then CLUE is just right for you. This is a show where wearing masks fits right in.

CLUE Cast – Photo by Jason Niedle

CLUE runs through October 17, 2021 with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, at 8 p.m. on Fridays, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts is located at 14900 La Mirada Blvd, La Mirada, CA 90638. Tickets range from $17 to $79 ($15 student tickets and group discounts available). For information and reservations, call 562-944-9801 or 714-994-6310 or go online.

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