Santa Rosa Junior College opens its season with Clue—not to be confused with Clue the Musical. Directed by Reed Martin, this version (script by Sandy Rustin) is heavily based on the 1985 cult film’s screenplay by Jonathan Lynn (itself loosely based on the board game). The show runs on the SRJC campus through Oct. 8.
Six strangers with colorful aliases have been summoned to Boddy Manor. There they are confronted by Wadsworth, the kooky butler (Jay K. Raja); Yvette, the trigger-happy maid (Austin Aquino-Harrison); Intense Cook (Katia Quintero); a stranded motorist (AJ Correia); an unexpected police officer (Jim Frankie Banks); and a singing telegram (Kate Benton). With the arrival and subsequent murder of their host, Mr. Boddy (Logan Witthaus), the stage is set for hijinks.
Who did it? Was it Col. Mustard (Aiden Pryor) in the conservatory? Mrs. White (Miriam Valencia) in the hall? Miss Scarlet (Juliya Lubin) in the billiard room? Mr. Green (Nate Musser) in the kitchen? Mrs. Peacock (Kellie Donnelly) in the library? Professor Plum (Aiden Cumming) in the ballroom? There will be no spoilers here!
This is a challenging play to mount. The set must be multi-faceted (a clever design by Austin R. Mueck). The costumes must be functional and decorative (well done by Dana Carlton). The tech has to be razor-sharp, and the physical demands are intense.
Most challenging is the iconic nature of the movie cast, leaving actors only two real choices—either recreate the characters from the film, as Lubin does in her spot-on impersonation of Lesley Anne Warren, or make them as different as Raja does with his tour de force performance as Wadsworth. Raja’s comedic timing and physicality are impeccable. This is a case of the right actor in the right role.
The tech could’ve been cleaner on opening night. A cue mishap at the top of the show left actors standing on stage waiting for a doorbell that never came while the lights changed erratically.
It took the cast a few scenes to recover before settling back into the show, but this is, after all, student theater. They are still learning how to recover when mistakes or mishaps occur. Even professional stage managers have rough nights with such enormously complex shows. That the team ran a clean show after that is a testament to their skill.
In short, if one is searching for laughs, here’s a Clue: Try this charming, energetic and hilarious show.
‘Clue On Stage’ runs Weds-Sun through Oct. 8 in Santa Rosa Junior College’s Burbank Auditorium Main Theatre, 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. Weds-Sat, 7:30pm; Sat & Sun, 2pm. $5–$25. 707.527.4307. theatrearts.santarosa.edu.