‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ // Brisbane Immersive Ensemble

‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ was killer.

Taking audiences on an experience filled with nostalgia and mystery, Brisbane Immersive Ensemble has picked a winner with their latest production ‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’.

An immersive performance from the get-go, ‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ is the ultimate whodunnit dinner party, where audiences play their part in solving a crime. With iconic characters, multi-room play and the boardgame’s legendary formula (who did it, what with and where), the Hasbro Gaming classic has transitioned from a 2D fantasy to real-life exchanges, which featured a dramatic storyline filled with music, mayhem and murder.

Starting as an elegant soiree, guests schmoozed and interacted with notorious Cluedo characters in a moody atmospheric space, with dark undertones, 1930s glam and jukebox style cabaret. Set at the Baedeker Wine Bar in Fortitude Valley, the venue evoked an era scarred by multiple evils. It was evident Baedecker had its own role to effectuate with dim-lit corners, tight corridors, spots to hide away in and one killer revolving bookcase. Together with Brisbane Immersive Ensemble, it worked successfully– the space realised a conceptual performance, and in return, the production highlighted an adaptable and interesting location.

During the first half of the evening, audiences wandered segmented areas at their own free will; catching glimpses of scenes between actors who revealed fragments of their characters shady pasts.  Without spoiling too much, love triangles were exposed, violent outbursts were released, and secrets were slowly revealed. What made the experience so fulfilling was how the audience was incorporated into the scenes, like a fly on a wall.  When the commotion ended, one could easily converse with the character immediately about the altercation that had just occurred. This seamless integration involved the audience in multiple ways. ‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ allowed for rapport to be built with various impersonations and it included onlookers into the drama.

At what would be deemed an intermission, the inevitable fortune for one played out – the host of the evening’s party was murdered (behind closed doors) and it was time for the gameplay to begin. The delightful encounters experienced were to be overanalysed and questioned. Handed a detective’s workbook for all our clue-taking, attendees were broken into separate groups, ready to interrogate each actor and their surroundings.

There’s something about ‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ that just worked on so many levels.  From the proceedings, the talent and the attention to detail in clues, every element had been carefully considered.  Whether you wanted it to happen or not, your inner 10-year-old player was released and they were competitive, eager to solve the crime and riddled with investigative instincts.

Unlike other murder mysteries that follow a strict script and can be quite predictable, ‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ bared a trick that even regular participants couldn’t outwit. Writer and Co-Director, Xanthe Jones, has cleverly crafted a show that can perform in multiple spaces at the same time, all whilst playing to a different outcome each evening.

As told by Jones herself, prior to each performance, the murderer is selected at random and in private, using actual Cluedo cards from the board game. The only people to know who the criminal is are Jones and the actor chosen by fate. This ingenious process has fashioned a production where avid fans can easily return without fear of witnessing the same storyline. Jones’ inventive script and ‘choose your own ending’ adventure easily withstands a long-running production season.

Jones’ and her creative partner, Ben Lynskey, have co-directed the performance and presented a robust experience from start to finish. Moving action around rooms and having actors interact with each other simultaneously stirred chaotic and entertaining theatre. ‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ was a series of acts that connected like puzzle pieces to deliver a synergetic production.

The cast of ‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ are nothing short of professionals, with their sharp impulses, insanely finessed improvisation skills and ability to do justice to a much-loved board game. Each actor has received incredible character training, and it shows in their perfectioned techniques.

As Madame Peacock, Elizabeth Best was quick to steal the show with her larger than life American personality. Best’s infectious charm and sparkling royal blue costume, which highlighted her seductive curves, made her shine like a diamond. Jessica Kate Ryan also gave a very alluring, very straight and very German, Mrs White. She too, was a hard one not to watch (or suspect), drawing eyes for her sultry maid attire and causing suspicions for her evasive personality.

Rounding out the leading players, Geena Schwartz was composed and elegant as Miss Scarlett, Joel O’Brien was fumbling and flamboyant as Professor Plum, Tristan Teller was suave and flirtatious as Reverend Green, Zane C Weber was boisterous and intoxicating as Colonel Mustard, and Colin Smith was charismatic and welcoming as Dr Black.

Although they weren’t suspects in the deception, there were also many other players who assisted the storyline.  A standout was Samuel Valentine as Ambrose Goldberg, who really facilitated the action and had his own role to play in providing hints and clues.  If audience members were off-track, he introduced them to notable figures and helped curb any curiosities. Alongside Genevieve Tree (who played Sylvia Sterling), both also provided the backing soundtrack with jazzy duets and stunning renditions. In fact, it’s worth mentioning that all lead actors sang covers of songs imperative to their characters, which never provided a dull moment in the overall tempo of the event.

As a whole, ‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ is something audiences need to see. Its exquisite conception is to be admired – the event has so much going on but not once does it ever miss a beat. There is a whirlpool of talent among this collective, and if Cluedo is anything to go by, Brisbane Immersive Ensemble has some incredible things in store for our town.

‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ performs until Saturday, 25 May 2019.  To book tickets visit http://cluedo.eventbrite.com.au/ or alternatively, learn more about Brisbane Immersive Ensemble here https://www.brisbaneimmersive.com/


Related Articles