Clue: The Musical brought the 2022-23 theater season to a rollicking conclusion at Saint Louis University.
The musical takes its name and premise from one of the most popular board games of all time. The game players and the musical’s audience are invited to solve a mystery—the murder of Mr. Boddy. Cards are drawn at the outset to determine the killer’s identity, the murder weapon, and the scene of the crime. The musical’s cards represent six suspects, six weapons, and six rooms in Boddy Manor.
The songs and the suspects’ dialogue supply backgrounds and motives, but they do not help solve the mystery. How could they? They have to support each of the 216 possible solutions. Boddy, who is the narrator throughout the show, provides the actual clues in asides spoken to the audience after the musical numbers.
How can Boddy still be the narrator after the murder? The play’s reality intersects with ours but has its own rules. The characters know they exist to take part in a scenario that is re-enacted with variations every time the game is played. This self-awareness adds to the show’s charm.
Carl Overly, Jr.’s sympathetic direction brought out the best in the script. The excellent SLU cast turned in distinctive, vividly drawn, performances. The suspects were Alexia Thornton as Mrs. Peacock, Jake Allen Olson as Professor Plum, Karina Widman as Miss Scarlet, Marshall Self as Colonel Mustard, Sophie Smith as Mrs. White, Aadi Kadam as Mr. Green. Makaina Woods was the detective, a character not in the game, who grills the suspects after Boddy’s demise.
The SLU production changed Boddy’s gender to female. This decision worked out brilliantly. Margaret London Kimble was a charismatic Mz. Boddy.
The musical numbers had ear- and eye-catching flair thanks to the total involvement of the cast, the splendid band under music director Paul Cereghino, and the exuberant choreography by Sara Rae Womack.
Lou Bird’s scenic and costume designs and Denisse Chavez’s lighting created a fun, flexible environment that supported the color scheme established by the suspects’ names. AhSa-Ti Nu Tyehimba-Ford’s sound design enhanced the action.
Photo by Peter Wochniak of ProPhotoSTL
From the left, Alexia Thornton as Mrs. Peacock, Marshall Self as Colonel Mustard, Jake Allen Olson as Professor Plum, Margaret London Kimble as Mz. Boddy, Sophie Smith as Mrs. White, Aadi Kadam as Mr. Green, and Karina Widman as Miss Scarlet in Clue: The Musical.