‘Cluedo! The New Suspects’ was enthralling.
Was it Scarlett, in the library, with the lead pipe? Or perhaps Peacock, in the dining room, with the revolver? Brisbane Immersive Ensemble are back, reviving ‘Cluedo! The Interactive Game’ with a whole host of new colourful characters to present the killer immersive experience, ‘Cluedo! The New Suspects’!
Tucked away in the heart of the valley is the grand Baedeker wine bar. Through the shadowy corners and secret passageways, the audience is welcomed into the site of Lady Black’s elaborate party and the untimely murder that took place in its walls. It is here the audience becomes immersed in the characters’ thrilling and glamorous lives and their world of secrets, scandal and seduction begging one question: who murdered Lady Black?
Upon entering the ballroom, the guests could mingle with the larger than life characters or sit and watch the live jazz band (Josh Richardson, Benja King, Dom Machen, Ben Oldham, and Josh O’Byrne) led by singer Meg Hamilton as Adelaide Argent whose warm vocals added to the ambience of this vintage party. Many of the actors also showcased their singing skills as they vied for the guest’s attention.
The guests could then choose to remain in the ballroom, traverse the secrets of the Baedeker leisurely, or even follow the characters and their sordid storylines. The characters themselves were not confined to one room and traveled through the Gatsby-style party revealing mysteries and scandals as they argued, gossiped, or laughed with other characters. While the expansive theatrical space was open and interactive, it still felt organised enough that the audience did not feel overwhelmed. Much like a real party at times, it could be difficult to see or hear the histrionics unfold, but this only added to the immersive experience and the actors all achieved sincerity in their characterisation.
The Baedeker was the perfect choice for a 1950s style immersive experience. Built in 1909, as a former mill and then airforce and army-barracks, audiences were seamlessly transported out of 2021 Brisbane and into a whole new world. Old worldly secret passageways, luxurious velvet and leather lounges, exposed red brick, and exquisite costumes, truly made for an experience that stepped back in time.
Much like the board game Cluedo, at the height of the party a devastating murder occurs placing the audience at the heart of the action as they become detective deputies to the case. Each audience member is placed in a group upon arrival which is led by an enthusiastic, stiff upper lip detective as they venture through each room to interrogate the suspects. The dramatic tension reaches its peak at the end of the night (complete with uneasy music from the band) when cockney Chief Inspector Ash (Danny Brown) exposes the murderer in an ‘Agathe Christie style’ line up reveal.
As all Cluedo connoisseurs would know, there are the 6 characters: Professor Plum, Colonel Mustard, Reverend Green, Mrs White, Miss Scarlet, and Mrs Peacock and the player must deduce who the murderer was, where they murdered and with what weapon. ‘Cluedo! The New Suspects’ has switched up these iconic characters to create a new team of glamorous suspects. The host of the evening Lady Black (Sarah Mcleod) was the epitome of British class and etiquette as she graciously greeted each audience party goer and encouraged them to make themselves comfortable in her grand ballroom. The suspects included the exquisite Russian Princess Plum (Bianca Zouppas); northern celebrity chef, Mrs Mustard (Monette Lee); inquisitive young reporter, Miss Green (Tahlia Downs); pompous and charming young socialite, Master Scarlet (David Cuny); American deep south talent scout, Monsieur Peacock (Jeremiah Wray); and, of course, no murder mystery would be complete without the earnest butler, Mr White (Elliot Baker). Each of these actors was a perfect encapsulation of their characters with unwavering adaptability and professionalism. Their quick wit and truthfulness to their characters allowed them to interact with the audience and discuss matters of the day, never wavering despite the bizarre statements from audience members.
‘Cluedo! The New Suspects’ was a one of a kind interactive and immersive theatre experience. For fans of the board game or even those who just want a unique night out that they will never forget, this opulent world will truly transport you into the swing of the 1950s. Brisbane Immersive Ensemble should be highly commended for a full night of music, merriment, mystery and murder.
Photos by Brisbane Immersive Ensemble