Arts & Culture

Get a ‘Clue’: Musical murder mystery playing in Cambria is based on the board game

Esmeralda Suffia, Sarah Smith, Joseph Whittington,. Rick Bruce, Jesse Waddell, Debora Schwartz, Toni A. Young, and, in the second row, Cika P. Cook, Travis Horton and Azaria Johnson appear in “Clue: The Musical,” playing at the Pewter Plough Playhouse in Cambria.
Esmeralda Suffia, Sarah Smith, Joseph Whittington,. Rick Bruce, Jesse Waddell, Debora Schwartz, Toni A. Young, and, in the second row, Cika P. Cook, Travis Horton and Azaria Johnson appear in “Clue: The Musical,” playing at the Pewter Plough Playhouse in Cambria.

Color-coded characters make it easy to keep track of who’s who in Pewter Plough Playhouse’s current whodunnit, “Clue: The Musical.”

The classic Parker Brothers board game is brought to life through song and dance in this musical comedy directed by Kelli Howard.

Peter DePietro scripted “Clue: The Musical” as an interactive theatrical event. The audience is given hints about who the murderer is, which weapon is used and where in Boddy Manor the dastardly deed takes place.

The possible weapons are a candlestick, knife, lead pipe, revolver, rope and wrench — all normally innocuous, as the cast sings in “Everyday Devices.” These props appear frequently as the various characters attempt to murder Mr. Boddy (Travis Horton), who always manages to avoid them.

Mr. Boddy serves as host, introducing the suspects and keeping the audience apprised of what’s going on. (Audience members are given forms and pencils, but lighting in the theater is seldom adequate to make legible notes.)

Colonel Mustard (Rick Bruce) sports a wide yellow tie. Since he married Mr. Boddy’s widowed mother, he is the rightful owner of the mansion. He’s suspected of having a hand in her death, as well as that of Mr. Boddy’s father.

The Colonel is having an affair with Mr. Boddy’s wife, Mrs. Peacock (Cika P. Cook), who vamps it up in the torch song “Always a Widow.” (Svelte understudy Azaria Johnson played Mrs. Peacock on opening night, wearing a slinky royal blue gown.)

As the overworked and underpaid cook and maid, Mrs. White (Deborah Schwartz) is paying off a debt to Mr. Boddy. She belts out her grievances in “Life is a Bowl of Pits.”

Former Las Vegas showgirl Miss Scarlett (Sarah Smith) is ripe as a summer tomato in her red silky dress. She wants revenge on Mr. Boddy, who once jilted her.

Her current paramour is Mr. Boddy’s business partner, Mr. Green (Joseph Wittington), who wears a chartreuse suit and believes that Mr. Boddy has double-crossed him.

Attired in a wine and gold plaid jacket and pants, Professor Plum (Jesse Waddell) believes that Mr. Boddy swindled his family out of their fortune.

After the murder, the Detective (Toni Young) makes her entrance dressed as a female version of Sherlock Holmes.

She and the professor toss around some literary names and references, but a lot of the lyrics in the play and some lines include snippets of nursery rhymes. Mr. Boddy delivers rhymed clues to the audience.

Other board games get an occasional nod in “Clue: The Musical.” Colonel Mustard and Mrs. Peacock engage in a raunchy game of Twister, complete with some sexual innuendos.

Even though the action entails various rooms in the mansion — the Ballroom, Billiard Room, Conservatory, Kitchen and Study — the minimalist stage remains unchanged. Elizabeth Saito handled costumes.

Tom Chiodo’s lyrics are amusing. The cast performs solos, duets or choruses, accompanied by orchestrator Jeff Mar’s prerecorded music. Under choreographer Elizabeth Wilt Stevenson’s direction, the cast pulls off some fancy footwork, including soft shoe.

Contact freelance writer Lee Sutter at sutterlee@hotmail.com.

‘Clue: The Musical’

7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; through Dec. 18; Special shows on Dec. 30 and 31.

Pewter Plough Playhouse, 824 Main St., Cambria

$25

805-927-3877 or www.pewterploughplayhouse.org

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