CLUE is a Breathless Murder Mystery Comedy at They Alley Theater

After experiencing personal darkness in the recent weeks, my mother and I looked very much forward to seeing Clue and getting some much needed laughter. And boy did we laugh!

Lights up on a dark and stormy night in a bespoke mansion. Each oddball guest arrives with their emotional baggage in tow for a strange and mysterious dinner party purposed by an unknown host.

Based on the classic board game and its cult classic film adaptation, Clue is a breathless breakneck murder mystery comedy of epic proportions! Alley Theater’s production is equal parts zany and irresistible.

It was such a pleasure to see Clue’s iconic characters such as Scarlet, Plum, White, Green and Mustard brought to life by some of Houston’s brightest stars. With brilliant comedic timing and even better chemistry, this handsome cast is a large part of what made the evening so lovely.

Dylan Godwin as Wadsworth is a sight to behold as he cleans, preens and emcees with ease. Susan Koozin’s Mrs. Peacock kicks the play off with the weight of physical comedy to excellent delivery but that weight is soon shared by all of the talented cast members as they march down hallways, eavesdrop with waterglasses and recreate murder scenarios.

Each actor committed to the sometimes intricate and sometimes silly movement with the seriousness and technical precision of a surgeon. The always stellar Christopher Salazar gives us a hilarious Mr. Green that just can’t sit still, Michelle Elaine’s vivacious Miss Scarlet bustles about like she owns the place and David Rainey’s Colonel Mustard will never truly know his own ignorance. The chemistry and high level of commitment between the small company is nothing short of dynamic.

We follow this motley crew through the ins and outs of this mystery, through hallways, kitchens, underground pathways and more. They hustle and bustle and rib each other as they clash about how best to find the murderer. Director Brandon Weinbrenner provided staging that kept the scenes brisk and always picturesque. Moments ebbed and flowed, movements were exaggerated and stylized, lines were repeated for comedic timing but all of it always felt just right.

Costume Designer Asta Bennie Hostetter dresses the actors in glamorous period clothing that is too good to be true. I heard audible responses in the audiences to Yvette’s (Melissa Pritchett) super short maid uniform, Miss Black (Elizabeth Bunch)’s brilliant reveal and Scarlet’s evening dress with a thigh high slit that showed us exactly how she might have trapped her beaus.

The lighting design by Jason Lynch proves successful when isolating key plot moments amidst chaos or provide eerie shadows to the macabre evening. One of the most thrilling moments is the lowering of the grand crystal chandelier. This, coupled with Tim Macakbee’s many moving scenic pieces such as a turntable, pool tables, door frames, gates and locks, aided the tight and cohesive design vision with aplomb. Job well done to all of the phenomenal cast and crew on breathing new life into this classic madcap comedy!

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