Independence High School
As lightning flashes and rain pours down, six strangers arrive for a dinner party, unaware that they are about to encounter a night full of murder, twists, and most importantly, comedy. Combining the campiness of 50's mysteries with dark humor, Broad Run High School's production of Clue: On Stage (High School Edition) captured the chaos and comedy of the original 1985 film.
First produced in 2018, Clue: On Stage (High School Edition) is an adaptation of the film based on the board game Clue. The play follows what happens when six exaggerated personalities meet while attending a dinner party. They soon realize they are all being blackmailed by the party's host, Mr. Boddy. After the introduction of six weapons, a murder quickly takes place. Mr. Boddy is found dead. What follows is a night of hilarious comedy, whether it be through flying cats, banter, or a dead singing telegram girl, the cast and crew made Clue: On Stage (High School Edition) proof positive!
Opening the show with a dark and stormy night, the sky was lit up with lightning flashes. The lighting technicians Joshua Amurao, Kate Baltazar-Toral and Julie Oh creatively followed clear themes throughout the entire show, such as changing the background to a deep red whenever a murder took place and highlighting Wadsworth with a spotlight when he broke the fourth wall in narration. While the show featured seven main actors, one of the most 'alive' parts of the stage was the set. Featuring hidden walkways, disappearing mirrors, and two levels, Aaron Flanigan, Josh Amurao, Frank Ezui, and Abriana Valentín managed to turn a rundown manor into its own character that felt unique to their production.
As amusing 50's music played, the six guests and Wadsworth (played by Tristan Fishel) ran across the house in slow motion looking for blackmail evidence against them. This scene allowed the cast to illustrate their ensemble chemistry through hilarious arguing and ad-libbing. The scene also gave an opportunity for actors like Matthew Solomon, who played Mr. Green, to stand out and make the audience laugh. Mr. Green, the nervous and awkward State Department employee, was charmingly played. At the end of the show, (spoiler) when it was revealed that he was actually an undercover FBI agent, Solomon seamlessly transitioned to a thick Brooklyn accent and moved from awkward and clumsy to cocky and sure-of-himself body language. Another terrific performance in this show was Samantha Fila playing Miss Scarlet, the smug and flirtatious "classified affairs" business owner. From Fila's first entrance she dazzled the audience with her confidence. Even if the scene was not pointed on her, her nonchalant personality and unrestrained facial expressions stole the show. Whether she was screaming in the lounge with Professor Plum (played by Calvin Simpkins) or arguing with Mrs. White (played by Asha Hussein), Fila's performance was always entertaining and left the audience wanting more.
Overall, Broad Run High School's production was humorous and charming. As the show gradually became crazier, the actors did a wonderful job of making it believable. The ensemble cast had great chemistry and it was interesting to see how their relationships developed. Both the actors and the technicians did a terrific job making Clue: On Stage (High School Edition) a fun, energetic show.
W.T. Woodson High School
Thunder booms! Lightning flashes! A doorbell rings! One by one, six mysterious guests enter the hall of an ominous mansion with invitations in hand. Each one has a peculiar pseudonym to conceal their identity, a lethal weapon, and the motive for murder.
Inspired by the 1985 movie, Broad Run High School's Clue: On Stage (High School Edition) presented an outrageously hilarious adaptation of the beloved board game. The six guests (Miss Scarlet, Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. White, Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and Mr. Green) arrive at the secluded home of their blackmailer, Mr. Boddy, for a dinner party. Each guest is greeted by Mr. Boddy's knowledgeable and refined butler, Wadsworth. The dinner turns ugly when Mr. Boddy presents each of the guests with two gifts- a deadly weapon and a dangerous deal. Boddy will stop blackmailing them if one of them uses their newly gifted weapon to kill Wadsworth. Suddenly, the lights go out, the guests scream, a gunshot rings, and when the lights finally flicker back on Mr. Boddy, not Wadsworth, lies dead on the floor. Frantic for answers, the guests race against the clock to decipher who the killer is and to destroy the damning evidence Mr. Boddy has against them before the cops arrive at the scene to arrest them all.
Leading both the guests and the audience through the delightfully deadly mystery was Wadsworth (Tristan Fishel) whose animated physical comedy set the scene for the eclectic mix of characters on stage. From slow motion chase scenes to witty ad-libbing, the entire cast brought an infectious and hilarious energy to the stage that conveyed the wonderful absurdity of the show. Each character's distinct mannerisms and quirks melded seamlessly with one another to create a comical and engaging ensemble.
Veiled in all black, Mrs. White's (Asha Hussein) dead pan humor brought a morbidly hilarious element to the cast which contrasted comically with the bumbling and oblivious nature of Mr. Green (Matthew Solomon). Solomon's dynamic physicality, emphasized in his flawless transformation from klutz to commanding FBI agent, showed his strong dedication and commitment to his character. Samantha Fila's compelling interactions with characters brought a flirty and engaging aspect to her character, Miss Scarlet. Additionally, Professor Plum (Calvin Simpkins), Colonel Mustard (Luke Marks), and Mrs. Peacock's (Gabriella Shelton) vivacious energy contributed even more endearing elements to the story.
Filled with secret passageways and elaborate rooms, the two-story set (designed by Aaron Flanigan with Josh Amurao, Frank Ezui, and Abriana Valentin) transported the audience straight into a 3D version of the board game. Characters often darted throughout winding corridors or impressive hidden pathways which brought an extra level of complexity and intrigue to the performance. Contributing to the intricacy of the show, each character's costume (Sonja Owens, Winky Nguyen, Natalie Saint-Rossy, and Kelly Palacios) represented their individual and unique personalities and quirks, making them appear as if they had stepped out of the board game and onto the stage.
Through wacky shenanigans and humorous physicality, Broad Run High School's Clue: On Stage (High School Edition) created a whirlwind of energy, full of hilarious violence and chaotic deductive skills in order to bring the iconic board game to life in a fresh and compelling way.