REVIEW: ‘CLUE’ a Killer of a Comedy at the Aronoff

You do not want to miss this production

Review by Doug Iden

Whodunnit?  Who killed Mr. Boddy and others?  As the possibilities and suspects multiply, mayhem abounds as the hilarious Clue cascades onto the Aronoff Theater stage as part of the Broadway in Cincinnati series.


Based upon Clue, the Parker Brothers boardgame, and the original screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, six characters arrive at a gothic mansion due to a mysterious invitation.  Each is given a pseudonym. Including Colonel Mustard (John Treacy Egan), Mrs. White (Tari Kelly), Mrs. Peacock (Joanna Glushak), Professor Plum (Jonathan Spivey), Mr. Green (John Shartzer) and Miss Scarlet (Michelle Elaine).  Mrs. Peacock recognizes the cook (Mariah Burks) and Mrs. White knows the maid Yvette (Elisabeth Yancey) although both hide the acquaintance.

After dinner, the Butler Wadsworth (Mark Price) divulges the nefarious activity of each of the six who are being blackmailed by Mr. Boddy (Alex Syiek).  Set during the mid-1950’s of McCarthyism and the “red scare”, each has a government connection with criminal intent.  They are all given presents (a rope, knife, lead pipe, wrench, revolver, and a candlestick) all of which become murder weapons later.  

Cast of CLUE.
Cast of CLUE. Photos by Evan Zimmerman for Murphy Made.

Mr. Boddy’s murder leads to all the characters trying to solve the crime.  Then the bodies accumulate as various visitors come to the mansion.  All will be resolved at the end (or will it)?


Straight out of classic farce and Vaudeville, the comedy is a combination of physical, situational and plays on words (especially with “body”) and a little Keystone Kops thrown in for good measure.   Everyone deliciously overacts and over-gestures with gusto.  Slapstick and pratfalls provide the physical humor led by Shartzer as Mr. Green who does his best Ray Boiger flexibility routine with various falls and splits.  One of the chandeliers collapses and forces Mr. Green to fall over backwards.  A highlight is a series of scenes where everyone is searching throughout the house for the murderer while doing a macabre dance, sometimes in comic slow-motion. Price as Wadsworth provides two comedic highlights when he manically “recreates” the various crimes and then suffers from extended death throes (or does he really die?).  An example of word play is: “Miss Scarlet, I don’t give a damn.”


Who knew murder could be so much fun?  The show simultaneously spoofs and pays homage to murder mysteries in general and Agatha Christie-like closed suspect stories specifically.  If you do not have a clue about the plot, that is ok.  Just be absorbed in the frenetic insanity as the nearly sold out opening night audience. (This is comedy, not Hamlet.)


Both physical and verbal timing is critical in farce and both the actors and Director Casey Hushion deliver with machine gun fire dialogue, chase scenes and door slamming. In today’s theater, it is nice to have three-dimensional sets (designed by Lee Savage) instead of props with video backgrounds.  The basic set is an eerie, oak-paneled mansion with doors that open and reveal other rooms in the house.  Before the curtain rises, there is a large animated portrait of Boddy Manor.  The characters ask the Butler “Who designed this set?” The answer is “Parker Brothers”.

Lighting is a considerable element (almost a character in itself) including numerous chandeliers with various lighting patterns, lightening (accompanied by thunder thanks to sound designer Jeff Human), total and partial blackouts, and muted lights during the chase scenes.

Costumes (by Jen Caprio and J. Jared Janus) are both appropriate and inappropriate for the characters.  Wadsworth and the cook wear  typical uniforms, Colonel Mustard is dressed in mustard-colored military garb, Mrs. Peacock appears as a peacock but Mrs. White is dressed in black.  The maid has on a sexy, cocktail waitress dress (or undress). 

CLUE on tour.
Cast of CLUE. Photos by Evan Zimmerman for Murphy Made.


I am a big fan of the 1985 movie which had three different endings.  Depending on which theater you attended, you saw a different ending.  The DVD included all three.  In this version, playwright Sandy Rustin combines all three and adds a few additional wrinkles, which becomes an in-joke itself.  Of the various approaches, I prefer this theatrical one–which gives you the best of both worlds.  The well-acted and directed play is funny, satirical and light-hearted.  If you are a fan of mysteries, derring-do, and comedy, you do not want to miss this production.

So, grab your deerstalker and a magnifying glass and enter the creepy mansion on the Aronoff Theater stage running through May 19.  (If you dare.)

Get your tickets to the professional touring company of Clue by clicking on or visiting the Aronoff Box Office. Tickets start at $35. LCT advises you to purchase only from official sources which will have “” in the URL.

RUNTIME: 90 minutes, no intermission

A new Calendar for everything onstage from LCT’s member theatres.

Related Posts