CLUE – Written by Sandy Rustin; Directed by John DiAntonio. Produced by Creede Repertory Theatre (Main Stage Theatre, 124 North Main, Creede) through August 26. Tickets available at 719-658-2540 or creederep.org.
“Madcap” as defined by Webster is “used to describe silly and funny behavior; zany as with a clown.” Madcap as defined by Creede is CLUE. This cast of eleven actors moves at a madcap pace for a full 90 minutes performing madcap antics at a breakneck speed.
It starts slowly enough as each character arrives at an isolated mansion by special invitation and is greeted by Wadsworth, the butler (Graham Ward). As in the popular game version, each character is identified by a color name, as in Miss Scarlet, Mrs. Peacock, and so on. But soon enough, bodies start falling out of closets and turning up in previously empty rooms. The madcap adventures start then as Wadsworth leads them all on a merry chase to find the killer, the weapon, and the location.
The mansion is located somewhere close to Washington, D.C. and all these characters have some sort of connection to a federal agency, job, or individual. Providing a natural lead-in to political humor, it soon becomes clear that their various affiliations have made them each vulnerable to bribery or blackmailing. While Mrs. Peacock declares that her “lips belong to the Lord,” none of them are squeaky clean. The people getting killed off are the corollary characters, such as the maid, the cook, a singing telegram delivery person, etc. How does this all tie together? It’s all explained at the end but not before these crazy people nearly kill the audience with laughter.
A true ensemble, this cast rolls together like a boulder down a hill. But special praise must go to Graham Ward for his controlling role of the Butler (after all, isn’t it usually true that the butler “did it”?). His madcap re-visit to the events “up till now” is a spectacular piece of comic pantomime of old-school proportions. All of this is accompanied by Silent Movie music played live by Andy Hudson.
Kudos to the Scenic Designer Lindsay Fuori who created the set with folding and unfolding walls, sliding doors and windows, revolving furniture, and doors that slam also at a madcap speed. The fully engaged ninja stagehands get as much of a workout with this show as the actors.
In choosing a season, an Artistic Director usually tries to find a balance between serious drama, sparkling musicals, and knock-down drag-out comedies. This show fits the last category; Artistic Director John DiAntonio picked this one and then saved it for himself to direct because he knew how much fun it was going to be. Well played, Mr. DiAntonio!!
A WOW factor of 8.5!!