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REVIEW: A spinning set and knockout cast make a delightful Clue at the Grand Theatre

iPhoto caption: Photo by Dahlia Katz.
/By / Mar 27, 2024

Who’d you play as a kid? I was a Colonel Mustard gal, personally, but I had friends who took their roles as Mrs. Peacock and Miss Scarlet very seriously.

A person’s favourite Clue character says a lot about them; it might also totally change their perception of the staged version of the board game, playing in a delightful co-production with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre at the Grand Theatre in London. 

Written by Sandy Rustin, and based on the film by Jonathan Lyn, Clue is… about what you’d expect from a 90-minute play sourced from a board game-turned-movie. It’s all about the characters and the set, and the physical comedy afforded by both under the skilful directorial hand of Dennis Garnhum. The story is less important – as you can likely guess, there’s been a murder, and the six attendees of a dinner party must figure out whodunnit – and there’s a vaguely anti-communist theme to the evening, but all in, the plot’s lifted directly from the premise of the game. 

And oh, how fun it is to see the game re-contextualized so literally to the stage.

My guy Mustard is a bumbling idiot played by Beau Dixon, who sports a tremendous moustache in addition to the requisite yellow suit (the production’s fabulous costumes are by Brian Perchaluk). Dixon milks the slapstick of the role for all it’s worth, never letting the stupidity of the character get old or repetitive. It’s not an easy task, being the comic relief in a play already steeped in goofy hijinks, but Dixon makes it work – he’s a total hoot to watch onstage.

So it goes for the rest of the Clue crew. Petrina Bromley plays a persnickety Mrs. White, a far cry from the group of come-from-aways audiences may know Bromley for playing elsewhere. Sharon Bajer is the histrionic, squawking Mrs. Peacock, dripping in feathers and self-righteousness. Toby Hughes is the so-nervous-he’s-suspicious Mr. Green, while Derek Scott perfectly embodies the holier-than-thou airs of the snooty Professor Plum. Reena Jolly, too, is excellent as the seductive Miss Scarlet, as is Rosalie Tremblay as the bumbling, short-skirted French maid Yvette.

Rounding out the main cast is Jesse Gervais as the servant Wadsworth, a role with more to it than audiences might assume when he first comes onstage. He’s antsy, yes, and a little scattered, but there’s a surprising, sublime performance just beneath the surface of Wadsworth, one that comes to play in the final beats of Clue (to explain any further would be to spoil – go see the show and experience the many layers of Wadsworth for yourself!). Gervais masters the comedy of the role (both as written and in improvised sequences in the show’s back half), and is a total treat to watch as Wadsworth succumbs to the stress of the dinner party gone wrong.

But perhaps the real star of Clue is Perchaluk’s two-storey set. The mansion is built on a sort-of cube, where on each side the audience can see two rooms – one each on the first and second floors. It’s an inventive, whimsical set filled with treasures and charm; were it not for such a strong cast, the set would easily be a scene-stealer.

Clue isn’t a particularly hard-hitting night of theatre – but of course, it’s not meant to be. Between Perchaluk’s impeccable design and a rock-solid cast of Canadian actors, Clue is a family-friendly delight from start to finish, a lovely and light 90 minutes of silliness.

Clue runs at the Grand Theatre until March 31. Tickets are available here.

Intermission reviews are independent and unrelated to Intermission‘s partnered content. Learn more about Intermission‘s partnership model here.

Aisling Murphy

Aisling Murphy

Aisling is Intermission's senior editor and an award-winning arts journalist with bylines including the Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, CBC Arts, CTV News Toronto, and Maclean's. She likes British playwright Sarah Kane, most songs by Taylor Swift, and her cats, Fig and June. She was a 2024 fellow at the National Critics Institute in Waterford, CT.



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