‘Clue: On Stage’ was punchy.
It was Mrs Peacock, with the Candle Stick in the Kitchen! Or was it…
In the heart of Beenleigh, Footlights Theatrical Inc’s rendition of ‘Clue: On Stage’ unfolded in the aptly named Tin Shed (Phoenix Ensemble), delighting Southeast Queensland audiences with a wonderfully produced performance.
Based on the iconic 1986 movie and Hasbro board game, ‘Clue: On Stage’ is a hilarious farce and murder mystery, set in a mansion where blackmail is the entrée and murder is the main course.
Directed by Ashleigh Cates, the farcical production showcased moments of brilliance, despite occasional unpolished scene changes and static blocking. Some costume choices for the production, set in the 1950s, raised eyebrows, but these nuances didn’t overshadow the overall enjoyment of the audience. With a bit more emphasis on the farcical and melodramatic nature of the play, the production could have reached even greater heights.
Leading the Set Design team was Isaac Tibbs. Tibb’s creation was smart and practical utilising two movable flats to demonstrate the multiple rooms that the production is set in. On these flats were some smart décor such as photos and trinkets to really pull the audience into the setting of the production. Additionally, a smart move by Tibbs was using stained glass windows at the entrance door to the mansion which highlighted each of the iconic weapons – lead pipe, rope, dagger and so on.
Lighting design by Maddy Bosanko was simple but effective, and minimal colour was used in the production to highlight the characters ‘colours’ and personalities. A great and commendable moment was lighting up Tibb’s stained windows in the colour of the character when they entered the stage. A small but effective decision by the technical team!
The success of this production hinged on the actors, who delivered with standout performances.
Sam McLaughlin and Megan Micola von Furstenreecht played Mr Boddy and The Cook respectively. In addition to these characters, McLaughlin and Micola von Furstenreecht were versatile in several other roles, including the motorist, the cop, and the criminal investigators! It is a hard challenge to play multiple characters however both actors rose to the challenge.
Sandra Harman as Mrs White was a highlight. Harman played this character with grace and poise, whilst maintaining their hidden agenda (5 dead husbands, this reviewer presumes!). Harman is a talented actor and in the role of Mrs White, this was a perfect character casting.
Ren Gerry as Mr Green was an interesting interpretation. Gerry played the character very realistically rather than of the farcical stylings, which the production leans towards. While Gerry’s performance was commendable it would be worth investigating how they can integrate melodrama into their realistic performance.
Jermia Turner as Miss Scarlett was again another perfect casting. As the sassy hard-hitting escort, Turner provided some fantastic comedic relief. Especially during their moments with Colonel Mustard.
Tristan Ham as Professor Plum was solid and grounded. Ham gave another interesting take on Professor Plum, delving more into the realism realm. Some comedic elements could have been explored further, especially around their Doctor character trait.
Skyah Lunar Fishpool as Yvette was hilariously placed. Fishpool played this French maid with hilarity and attitude. While some attention could be paid to the annunciation of words whilst using the French accent, Fishpool did add to the comedy of the production.
Caleb Holman as Colonel Mustard was an interesting casting choice, as this reviewer has only ever seen this particular character played by a mature actor, however, casting a younger actor in this role was a delightful surprise and Holman did not disappoint.
Genevieve Tree as Mrs Peacock was the standout actor in this production. Tree is a fantastic actor who really played into the farcical melodrama of the production. A highly commendable choice was making this Christian-loving character a secret drug addict, which really allowed Tree to play and entertain with the contrasting elements of her character.
Rounding out the cast, as leading actor in this production, Liam McDonell as Wadsworth was excellent in this role. McDonnell is a talented actor and is another standout as the main protagonist. Their energy was consistently high throughout the show, and you could clearly see the effort and fun McDonnell was having as the cheeky Butler.
While there were small areas for improvement, Footlights Theatrical Inc’s ‘Clue: On Stage offered a great night of entertainment in the heart of Beenleigh. The minor flaws did little to detract from the enjoyment of the audience, and the team behind the show has created a memorable theatrical experience.
‘Clue: On Stage’ performed for one weekend only, until Saturday 7 October 2023. For more information about Footlights Theatrical Inc., visit their website.