By Alec Clayton
Nobody, neither the audience nor any guest at Boddy Manor, has a clue who killed whom. Perhaps more accurately, everybody has a clue, but they’re all wrong.
Based on the 1985 movie with an all-star cast including Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn and Michael McKean, with a setup based on the popular board game, Clue: On Stage is currently playing at Olympia Little Theatre. It’s a laugh-a-second farce with a huge cast of some of the best actors in the South Sound, including Luke Amundson, Heather and Michael Christopher, Drew Doyle, W. Scott Pinkston, Jenifer Gillis Rifenbery and other luminaries of area stages.
Half a dozen people who don’t know each other are invited by Mr. Boddy to his country manor. Each is being blackmailed by Boddy. One by one they’re murdered — by whom, no one knows. As they search for clues, they enact a smorgasbord of such classic, farcical tropes as running endlessly in and out of doors, all with intense physical comedy. It’s Noises Off meets the Marx Brothers.
The 13-person cast is outstanding. From Isabel Nixon Klein as Singing Telegram Girl, on stage only long enough to meet her maker, to the butler, Wadsworth (Doyle), whose constant movement is like an absurdly choreographed dance. His reenactment of the night’s events, the entire cast following his lead, is as funny as anything ever seen on stage or screen.
Heather Christopher does more with her eyes than many actors can with their voice and entire body. Sarah Johnson, as Yvette the French maid in her first stage performance since high school, is a delightful parody of a cliché.
Rifenbery is a veteran of many plays in Olympia and Tacoma. She portrayed Blanche in Night Watch and hateful Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In Clue, her character is the most sensible person in this gang of idiots.
Pinkston is a veteran actor who starred in such mesmerizing roles as Roy Cohn in Angels in America and Richard Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross. Here he proves he can be equally effective in farce.
Jalyn Green hasn’t acted in Olympia since Pvt. Wars in 2007, but he’s been busy performing in Phoenix, Seattle and other locales. He’s simply amazing as Mr. Green (no relation).
Director Robert McConkey deserves high praise for herding this troupe of actors, who run roughshod throughout the manor like a herd of lunatic buffalo. One can only imagine what a challenging job directing this wild show was. Kudos, McConkey.
Erin Manza Chanfrau earned every bit of credit she’ll get for her fantastic animation and graphic design work. Her projected animation of suspects running from room to room like an agitated game of Pac-Man is brilliant.
Clue is pure silliness. Several performances have sold out, so be sure to call or check OLT’s website before going to the theater.
Clue: On Stage
7:25 p.m. Thursdays – Saturdays and 1:55 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 13;
1:55 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12
Olympia Little Theatre,
1925 Miller Ave. NE, Olympia