The Tasha Does Tulsa crew went to see Clue last night with TYPros at the Liddy Doenges Theatre in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center downtown.
The players in Clue, now showing at the TPAC. From left to right: Mrs. White (Randy Chronister), the detective (Alicia Lees), Mr. Green (Jeff Gaffen), Miss Scarlett (Jessica Elliot), Natasha Ball, Professor Plum (Carl Mark Osborn), Mr. Boddy (Patrick Hobbs) and Colonel Mustard (Ed Dill).
What I really liked about Clue was that our show was different from each of the others that will run each night until Saturday. The play turned out one of 216 possible ways: Miss Scarlett killed Mr. Boddy with the wrench in the conservatory.
No one slights Miss Scarlett with a ring beset with cubic zirconia and then dumps her for Mrs. Peacock, who confessed to retaining Joan Rivers’s plastic surgeon, and gets away with it.
The soon-to-be-offed Mr. Boddy was in charge of the show from the start, which I thought was pretty interesting since he was dead for a good part of it. He explained the rules of the game at the beginning of the show, thank goodness. I’d never played the board game (don’t gasp – it’s been done).
Mr. Boddy asked three audience members to choose from three decks of oversized, hand-drawn Clue cards whodunit, with what and where. The card selecting process was exciting and suspenseful, but nothing can distract and disarm an audience like booty dances by Mrs. White and Miss Scarlett.
Maybe 10 people in our audience guessed the correct murderer, crime scene and weapon. A few of the people I came with knew Miss Scarlett had done the deed and that she used the wrench, but none of us managed to translate the room clues correctly.
The music and singing were fabulous. The dancing was good enough, but no one was as charming as Mrs. White. My favorite parts of the entire musical were during this certain song when the stage went dark, pulsating lights like those in a dance club came on, the music went trance-techno, and the characters broke it down in a beat dance for 5 seconds or so. This only happened twice, but I still went home very happy.
None of last night's winners were, from what I could tell, with the TYPros group. Guess the TPD won’t be knocking on our doors anytime soon.
My amateur comments on the thespians and characters:
Mr. Boddy (Patrick Hobbs) – I want this guy to hang out at my house and just talk about stuff. Great voice, great delivery, semi-strange character. I’m sure Patrick didn’t have much say in how his lines were written, though.
Detective (Alicia Lees) – I could tell by talking to her briefly after the show that this girl is probably one of the nicest people in the world. The character was totally strange and needlessly paranoid, but Alicia performed with confidence and skill.
Colonel Mustard (Ed Dill) – I want to squeeze the man who played this character. Whose idea was it to plague Mustard with this strange disease where he mistakes human beings with inanimate objects (he called Mrs. Peacock a rake, an audience member an antique, Mr. Green a green bean)? Rather than add charm to the caricature, the “ailment” totally jumped the shark. Not funny. Bad writing!
Mrs. Peacock (Elizabeth Alpert) – This woman can sing. Omigosh. And, her face is great. Each of her many facial expressions were extremely well pronounced. Where’d this lady come from, anyway? I hope to see her in something again soon.
Miss Scarlet (Jessica Elliot) – I was sad that Jessica’s microphone was on the fritz for the first half of the play, because I missed a few of her lines and parts in songs that I’m sure were great. I loved the accent, which made me want to go home and watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit right away. I wonder if the accent was her idea.
Professor Plum (Carl Mark Osborn) – Actor had a great look for this part. I had trouble hearing him most of the time, though. I totally fell for what the detective called his “whimpy” Thoreau pick-up lines. I’m easy, I guess.
Mr. Green (Jeff Gaffen) – This character, who mismatches clichés much like the hilarious bar tender on The Boondock Saints, really rubbed me the wrong way, but that wasn’t the actor’s fault. I thought Jeff was a little over-emphatic at times, but when I put myself in that actor’s position, I can totally see how he’d think he’d have to over-act to convey the smarminess of the character.
Mrs. White (Randy Chronister) – This is one of those rare times when the perfect actor is matched to the perfect role. I loved how his peek-a-boo ballet dance made the male audience members shriek. Not only does Randy look great in fishnets and an apron, but he can also peg a high note like a pro.
If you’re tired of what Professor Plum would call the “intellectual, complex” theater, check out Clue. Like the latest Disney movies, it’s childlike without being childish and comes complete with light-hearted, not-so-subtle sexual innuendo.