Encore Michigan

Ringwald romp rounds up the usual suspects

Uncategorized October 06, 2018

FERNDALE, Mich.–Audiences here are being slain with silliness this month. And I’ll tell you the culprit upfront. Ringwald did it: On Woodward, with a farce, in a black-box theatre.

For Halloween month, Ringwald has chosen a farcical play, Clue, based on the movie and the game of the same name. Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum – all the cool names you remember–are embodied in 10 nutty characters joking their way through a 90-minute murder-filled farce.

You know the premise: A group of people assembled at a mansion trying to figure out what’s going on. There’s blackmail, and bawdy humor and several murders. Whodunnit? Who cares. Just enjoy Joe Bailey’s opinionated Mrs. Peacock, Suzan M. Jacokes lustful drama queen, Mrs. White, Richard Payton’s effete Mr. Green, or Melissa Beckwith’s saucy French maid. (With a show like this, I am legally bound to refer to the French maid as saucy.)

Of special note among the cast is Donny Riedel’s appealing Wadsworth, the butler who guides us, and the characters, through the evening’s manic mayhem. His overly gracious servant becomes increasingly unhinged as he emcees the evening’s proceedings.

At one point, while scurrying up an aisle, Joe Bailey said (ad-libbed), “I’m going to lose 10 pounds during this show.” This might really be the case for Riedel, with all the frenetic energy he’s expending.

The game-for-anything (pun intended) rest of the cast includes Tim Kay, Gretchen Schock, Sydney Lepora, Shane Nelson, and Inney Prakash. (Shout-out to Prakash for a meta comment in the program about program bios: “(He is) always tentative about writing in the third person.”)

The script is adapted from Jonathan Lynn’s screenplay, with additional material by Hunter Foster, Eric Price and Sandy Rustin.

The show breezes along, employing crazy use of constantly changing sets and a cast running amok through the tiny theatre, as well as an interlude of enjoyable musical choreography (created by Molly Zaleski).

Opening night included some slight mis-timings (dialog and effects). But overall the show, guided by director Bryan Lark, is a fast, fun 90-minutes.

Week of 5/25/2020

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