During Family and Friends weekend, The Bryant Players performed their production of Clue. The show took the classic board game and created a complex, yet, hysterical story out of it. I saw it all three times and there was always something to take away from the show that I had not realized before.
The actors did a tremendous job capturing the audience and keeping them entertained. The show’s lead, Connor Evans, who played the Butler, proved he was certainly deserving of the lead. He took the character and made it his own. He created a proper British-like accent and truly captured the audience with his mannerisms and comedic skills. He certainly was able to make the audience laugh when he did thinks like chasing Mr. Green throughout the theatre or screaming and slapping Mrs. Peacock. He also jokingly upset Addison Mueller, the director, in the final scene of the last show. When the butler said, “communism was just a red herring”, he slapped his knee. When the entire cast were doing their group bows at the end of the show, they all slapped their knees as well. After the bows, Mueller told the audience of how he yelled at them so many times at rehearsal for doing that, but he was clearly cheerful and just joking around with them and the audience. Evans’ character also had quite a few monologues to deliver that he performed amazingly. He obviously had so much to remember, not just his lines, but all sorts of different actions and movements that he had to make as well. It was not just him that had plenty to do on stage, but the rest of the cast as well.
Like the directors told me back in our interview, the play was extremely reliant on perfect timing from everybody. All the actors were able to make the show fun and entertaining and keep the audience guessing on whodunit the whole time.
When it comes to comedy excellence, Lorenzo Ricci, the actor of Professor Plum, goes down as an unsung comedy hero. I picked up on it in the first show, and then paid more attention to it in the following shows. Through the script, one can take away the idea that Professor Plum is a pervert. With his slight mannerisms like checking out the women on stage or gaping his mouth when sexual pictures are shown, Ricci was able to add to his character while making it funny as well. He also was able to make the audience see some of the character’s other characteristics through his actions. In the scene where Mr. Green admits that he is a homosexual, Professor Plum develops a shocked look and gets up from his chair, a little shaky at first, and then walks over to one of the female characters. It can be assumed that Professor Plum is also homophobic and being that this play is set in the 1950s, it is quite possible. Ricci’s slight actions were able to get the audience to understand what the character was all about.
The members of the production also showed how to deal with problems and make something positive out of it. During one of the transitions in Act II in which the crew members had to prepare the stage for the next scene, they had to remove tinsel from the background on stage. They were pulling them down from the back, but they were unable to get one of them. One of the crew members walked onto the stage and took the tinsel down in front of the audience but the viewers thought this was fantastic. They gave that crew member a round of applause and the spectators had fun with it. There were other times when mistakes were made like when a “ding-dong” sound was made when the killer shot the singing telegram girl, but they still went along and continued to put on a great performance.
Throughout all three performances, the crew member taking down the tinsel was not the only thing the crowd had fun with. The audience did all sorts of unexpected things like clapping for the death of the cop or screaming “Not Mike!” when the character of the Motorist, played by Mike Criscuolo, was killed.
In the 1985 film version of the play, there are three different versions of how the movie ends, and the directors decided to use all three. At the end of the first ending, the stage went dark and the play seemed to be over, fooling the audience into applauding. The voice of the butler then asked the crowd “what if this happened?”, referring to the second ending. The second ending began right around the time where the killer in the first ending was revealed, which was the character of Ms. Scarlet. In this ending, the killer was revealed to be Mrs. Peacock who is then arrested to end the second ending. The stage goes black again but then the voice of the butler says that this, referring to the next ending, is what really happened. The third ending reveals that everyone, except for Mr. Green, killed someone and the butler, who in this ending is not a butler at all, is shot and killed by Mr. Green. Mr. Green reveals he is an FBI agent and everyone except for him is arrested and he reveals to the audience that he is not a homosexual by saying that he is going to sleep with his wife.
By using all three endings for the show, it added to what the show was trying to be, and successfully was, all along: fun. If I took anything away from the show, it was that it was a fun show. It shows the theater is meant to be a fun and enjoyable experience for not just the viewers, but for the cast and other members of the production as well. I am certainly glad I went to this show three times and it honestly was a great one. I would like to congratulate the directors, the tech and crew, the cast, and everyone else who put this together for what was a terrific production.