Clue: A New Comedy Brings Laughs And Fun To The Orpheum Theatre


Photo Credit: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

I’ve never played the board game Clue. I’ve never seen the 1985 film Clue starring Tim Curry. Long story short, I know nothing about Clue besides the lines I’ve picked up here and there in pop culture. I know the whole “who did it, with what, in what room,” but that’s where my knowledge starts and ends with all things Clue. So why did I spend my Wednesday night at a live performance of Clue: A New Comedy at The Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis? Obviously, because it was a show and I can’t say no to a show, but also because I just love the theatre and will never turn down a night being whisked away from my normal life and into a whole new world.

As the lights went down and the screen concealing the stage flew into the ceiling, I was instantly struck by the set design of this performance. It was much more intricate than many of the live musicals and plays I’ve been to lately, but that makes sense, as this was a bit more of an intricate play. With beautiful chandeliers hanging from the middle of the stage to a very grand and stately double “front door” towards the back, as Wadsworth, the butler, entered the guests into the mansion, it felt as if you too were being ushered into a life of grandeur.

I’m getting ahead of myself. In case you don’t know the background of the movie and this subsequent play, I should lay out the premise. Long story short, six strangers are invited to a quite peculiar dinner party. Although it’s not known at the beginning, it shows that these strangers have more in common than meets the eye. They are joined in a mansion by Wadsworth (the aforementioned butler), a cook, and a maid by the name of Yvette. As the dinner party begins, strange things start happening, and by strange, I mean murder. The guests are left trying to figure out who amongst them is the murderer. Okay, there you have it. There are so many more twists and turns throughout this storyline, but if I say much more, I fear I may ruin it for you, so I will stop here. Back to the fancy mansion that a packed Orpheum Theatre found themselves in on Wednesday.

Beyond the initial beauty of the set design behind Clue: A New Comedy was how the set design morphed on the stage in front of you. As doors would open leading the cast into different rooms of the mansion, you would see rooms expand and disappear in real time. I’m not sure how to explain it correctly but it was truly a sight to see as sides of the stage would turn into everything from the parlor to a library with just the movement of a “wall”. It was truly an almost extravagant setting but, at the same time, was so well curated that it never felt over the top, and there was never a lag as the performers popped in and out of various rooms.

I wish I could tell you which of the performers was my favorite but, the truth is, I can’t. Without any knowledge of the background of each of the six dinner guests, I had to do my best to figure it out on my feet, and I instantly fell in love with each of them. My eyes seemed to constantly gravitate towards the gorgeous Miss Scarlet, played by Michelle Elaine, but I also couldn’t help but constantly keep an eye on what Mrs. Peacock (played by Joanna Glushak) was doing. John Treacy Egan, playing Colonel Mustard, got the most laughs with his often absent-minded jokes and just downright stupidity, and I could relate to the nervous energy of John Shartzer, who was playing Mr. Green. Obviously, I loved the attitude being given by Mrs. White (played by Tari Kelly) and, really, who doesn’t love Professor Plum (played by Jonathan Spivey). Long story short, this performance was cast perfectly and wouldn’t have been the same with any changes.

Sure, the majority of the show revolves around the dinner party guests, but, really, the star of the show was Mark Price, who played Wadsworth. There was just something so perfect about him, from the timing of some of his jokes to the way he moved his body during some of the dance scenes. He really stole the show every time he was on stage even if he was standing there doing nothing.

The entire performance on Wednesday night was flawless. So flawless that when there were technical difficulties about halfway through, which brought the performance to a screeching halt for a couple of minutes, we were all left wondering if it was part of it or an actual issue. It ended up being an actual technical issue and, as mentioned, left a pause in the performance but the performers picked up right where they had stopped and didn’t miss a single beat.

I want to tell you so much more about this brilliant show, but I just can’t because I don’t want to give anything up regarding the jokes and storyline. I say this after every musical and play I go to, but seriously, Clue: A New Comedy is more than worth your time, so grab a ticket and go!