By Suzanne Chapman
“Clue: The Musical” July25-October 14, 2007
The Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre
Admission: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday - $39.95 Saturday - $42.95
Youth 11-15 - $30.00
Children 10 and under - $20.00
Fortunately for the Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre, there is theatre to divert attention away from its “dinner”. I found the establishment hard to find despite its “right off South-95” locale. After taking the alleged exit, I passed right by the worn yellow sign which would turn out to be my only landmark for finding the place. It would take me another few passes to spot the dingy little billboard. Upon entering, I was taken aback. This establishment looked nothing like the pictures on the website. It was run-down and musty. The carpet didn’t match. The lights were kept low to hide what I discovered in the fluorescents post show was a collapsing structure. The roof sloped menacingly in several places.
Dinner was less than appetizing. The “Pennsylvanian Dutch” buffet was as dark as the dining room. And to my (and the other clientele I encountered) dismay, labels were strangely absent. I did my best to pick out what looked edible and returned to my table. At least my drink was cold, and I was welcomed warmly by the staff.
With a beginning like this, I expected the show to be less than stellar. A little research had shown me that “Clue: the Musical” had only run off-Broadway for 29 performances. However, I don’t believe that the off-Broadway production was blessed with such a talented and lovable cast as that of the Lazy Susan. While an inane and sometimes painfully unfunny show, these strong performers made the best of what they were given.
Despite some atrocious harmonies and frivolous lyrics, the cast of Clue is wonderful. Several powerhouse performances help to perk up the dismal script. Patrick M. Doneghy delivers a delightful performance as the cunning corpse Mr. Boddy. His expert comedian performance rivets the audience through what seems like a too vocally demanding role for him. He is not to be missed.
As his gold digging wife, Tricia Jarrall is charming. Though largely inaudible (mics?), her soft voice and upper class British accent make it easy to see why Boddy fell for her. In fact, her having murdered five prior husbands doesn’t seem to dissuade anyone from pursuing her.
Col. Mustard, the bumbling military man played by Jeffrey Bryce Davidson, chases her throughout. He plays the confused Colonel to absolute perfection with numerous side-splitting one liners. The performance of Jeff Davis as the scheming and suspicious Professor Plum livens up the dull moments of the show. His fun line deliveries are excellent though he occasionally drifts over the top. He is comically ruffled by Jade Banks as Mrs. White. Though Banks has a good sense of physical comedy and projects well, she spends most of her time furrowing her brow at the audience and struggling with the range of her role. But a little research shows that the original Mrs. White was played by a man so it’s understandable that she would have trouble.
Two cast gems were the two youngest cast members. Missy Ann Wilmoth is smoldering as the lusty siren, Miss Scarlett, while Matt Curtis is a charismatic whirlwind as the conniving Mr. Green. He leaves the audience in stitches, and Doneghy plays well off his energy. “They’re not paying me enough for ‘dis,” quips Curtis. “They’re not paying any of us enough for this.” Doneghy retorts. Clearly, it’s true the actors are not treated well. I was uncomfortably warm, and I could see them visibly sweating profusely. The Green/Scarlett duet “Everyday Devices” is a showstopper. Both actors have superb voices.
But the show’s true treasure doesn’t appear until the second act in the form of one Ms. Kristen Jepperson. Jepperson’s detective commands the stage. Even spouting the poorly written nursery rhyme references, she manages to steal scenes and hearts with top notch acting and beautiful singing. Her song with Plum “Seduction Deduction” is particularly memorable.
Choreography was cute at best and dull at worst. The “mansion” set seemed more like a country home for a big family. However, I recommend “Clue: The Musical” at the Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre. This is acting at its most challenging level. But be sure to skip dinner and get a “show only” ticket. It’s cheaper anyway!