There’s been a murder at the Mercury Theater.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: It was a dark and stormy night. Is this cliche? Yes, but it’s also true. We have just entered the Mercury Theater, which looked like the large hall of a grand manor. Overhead, it sounds like a storm is raging with thunder booming. One by one, guests arrive at the house on this spooky night, each one with a mysterious reason for being there. We’re in for much more than a family board game night with Clue, as there’s suddenly a murder or two to solve.
Every Character a Standout
As each character enters, we immediately recognize them from their color-coded wardrobe that match their given aliases for the night.
Colonel Mustard, played by Jonah D. Winston, stands on the porch in a mustard brown suit and barks back at the guard dogs outside the house, the first of many funny interactions. He keeps up the jokes as every single sarcastic quip goes right over his head.
McKinley Carter, playing Mrs. White, slowly enters the hall. Her stoic demeanor accented by a black veil donned with white pearls and a dry sense of humor to match.
Mr. Green, played by Kelvin Roston Jr., enters nervously in a pinstripe suit and green tie and doesn’t let up that neurotic energy as he is faced with situation after situation challenging his nerves.
Mrs. Peacock, portrayed by Nancy Wagner, is adorned in plumes and never wants there to be a silent moment as she tries to play hostess with the mostess among the other guests. But she gets more and more exasperated as it seems they are never going to get out of the house.
Finally, Miss Scarlet, played by Erica Stephan, enters in what else but a show-stopping red dress accompanied by the purple accented Professor Plum, who is portrayed by Andrew Jessop. She’s putting up with no nonsense and enters with a confident air. Plum does his best to prove to everyone he is in fact a real doctor.
And of course, they are all led by Mark David Kaplan playing the butler, Wadsworth. He goes back and forth between matching the guests' energy with dry wit and seriousness to high energy, over-the-top antics. He steals the scene at almost every moment, in this writer’s opinion. He ushers in the guests like a proper butler but never misses a beat to throw a pun or a quip at their expense.
Is it Like the Movie?
For the most part, yes. We find many of the classic lines from the movie, right down to the souvenir pack of tissues quoting Mrs. White, “Husbands should be like Kleenex, soft, strong, and disposable.” Here on the stage, the actors are able to punch up these moments and have the audience roaring with laughter. Instead of the quips being passing one-liners in the movie, each joke is told to the fullest. The lights change and there’s a dramatic beat as Mrs. White and Yvette (Tiffany T. Taylor) exchange murderous looks as they recognize each other. When the cook (Honey West) and Mrs. Peacock lock eyes, there is another dramatic pause, and we know it’s another pair that has met before.
There are other bits not like the movie that also have us rolling in the aisles. As the group separates off into pairs to search the house, we are treated to a kooky, running-through-the-halls montage.
For the finale, Kaplan reenacts the whole night with great speed and energy. He has the audience’s eyes glued to him and enraptured during his final scene as he dies, — not once, not twice, but three times over, each more hysterical than the last. Though, in this writer’s opinion, we lose the ensemble in this part as it feels like we’re just watching a one man show as they all stand around him in the hall.
If you’re a fan of the original movie, this production of Clue would be a good fit for you. Even those who aren’t fans but still love a good ensemble show with lots of jokes and physical comedy would also find this show to be a fun night out.
Patrick Byrnes (Mr. Boddy)
McKinley Carter (Mrs. White)
Andrew Jessop (Professor Plum)
Mark David Kaplan (Wadsworth)
Andrew MacNaughton (Ensemble)
Kelvin Roston, Jr. (Mr. Green)
Erica Stephan (Miss Scarlet)
Tiffany T. Taylor (Yvette)
Nancy Wagner(Mrs. Peacock)
Honey West (Ensemble)
Jonah Winston (Colonel Mustard)
Understudies include Peter Ferneding, Brie McClellan
October 13, 2022 - January 1, 2023
Sundays - 1 pm and 5 pm
Wednesdays - 8 pm
Thursdays - 8 pm
Fridays - 8 pm
Saturdays - 3 pm and 8 pm
Mercury Theater Chicago
3745 N. Southport Avenue
About the Author: Alexis Bugajski
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski