Murder-Mystery Game’s A Laugh Riot In Sf Playhouse’s ‘Clue’

It doesn’t matter who killed who, or why, or how. San Francisco Playhouse’s latest production, the murder-mystery farce “Clue,” based on the 1985 film of the same name and written by Sandy Rustin based on the Hasbro board game, is so funny, so elegantly performed, directed and designed, that nothing much else matters , certainly not the ultimate reveal — although it’s also fun.

In fact, you hardly need to know the basics: Six people, all strangers to each other, have been invited to a dinner party in a grand mansion (beautifully detailed set design by Heather Kenyon, complete with multiple, slamming doors, a hidden library and salon that rotates in and out onto platforms, the requisite crystal chandelier) by a mysterious someone, for a mysterious purpose.

Naturally, in the beginning, the sconces only cast an eerie, dim glow (Derek Duarte, lighting designer), and there’s the inevitable lightning and deafening thunder (Dan Holland, sound designer).

And of course every guest has something to hide, a skeleton in their personal closet, and every guest, from the nervously smiling Mrs. Peacock to the strangely stony-faced Mrs. White, will jump and scream several times throughout the play, and more they do – as the shots echo and body after body is suddenly discovered, always in a strange pose – the merrier. Only such a perfectly tuned ensemble could achieve that.

For example, there’s Michael Ray Wisely’s Colonel Mustard, with a constant bewildered and bewildered expression that somehow seems to dribble down his entire body.

It’s Stacy Ross’s nervous and tough Mrs. Peacock with cat glasses and an absolutely ridiculous puffy hat (witty, sumptuous costumes by Alice Ruiz).

See also  Masego brings smooth seduction to The Warfield

It’s Michael Gene Sullivan, one of the Bay Area’s funniest actors, as the self-important Professor Plum (in plum-colored pants)—just keeping an eye on him alone is a viable option.

Watch for the way corpses collapse into impossible configurations, like wet noodles, the way Margherita Ventura’s skilled French maid manages to strike a different cheeky pose every minute or two of screen time, the way inventive director Susi Damilano never misses an opportunity for a sight gag or a chance to choreograph the way the actors waltz, prance, chop, swish or slide across the stage.

And that’s largely due to Damilano’s vision for every element to come together (a slight glitch with a rotating set on opening night did nothing to undermine the proceedings) and that there isn’t a weak link in the 11-member cast, which includes Renee Rogoff’s implacable Mrs. White, who may have killed her husband; Courtney Walsh, all slinky as the tough and swaggering Miss Scarlet; and Dorian Lockett in the longest and most outrageous death scene you’ll ever see on stage.

You don’t have to be a puzzle addict or a murder mystery lover to enjoy Clue. But if you’re not laughing, you might be, well, officially. . . death.

“Clue” continues through April 22 at the San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., San Francisco. Tickets are $15-$100. Call (415) 677-9596 or visit

Copyright © 2023 Bay City News, Inc. All rights reserved. Republishing, retransmission or redistribution without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited. Bay City News is a 24/7 news service covering the greater Bay Area.

See also  Correction of a SF Chronicle fabrication on the cover - 90 years later

Copyright © 2023 by Bay City News, Inc. Republishing, rebroadcast or other reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *