On Saturday, Oct. 14, I was lucky enough to attend SoL Theatre’s production of “Clue: High School Edition” — a two hour romp through the insane murder-mansion of Mr. Boddy. While the run is over, The Sopris Sun gave some space for a review ahead of the company’s next show, and a collaboration with Sopris Soarers, “Scooby Doo, Where are you?” premiering on Oct. 26 at 6pm.
“Clue” was a staged version of the popular film of the same name, in which all of our favorite characters from the board game (plus a few extras) become locked in a massive home, each suspected, for one reason or another, in a truly compelling murder plot.
I was blown away by the quality of SoL’s show. It was hilarious and incredibly well produced, leading to one of the best theater experiences I have had in a long while. But, why was this play so good?
The first thing that comes to mind is the amazing characterization of every single person in the cast. The play opens with every guest to Boddy Manor (the pun is funny, I’ll give it to them) having a short scene as they’re welcomed by Wadsworth, the butler, and Yvette, the maid. These scenes quickly establish what each character is all about: Colonel Mustard, the idiotic army man; Mrs. White, the femme fatale; Professor Plum, the self-important psychologist; Mr. Green, the easily-startled nerd; Miss Scarlet, the sarcastic seductress; and Mrs. Peacock, the Christian housewife.
Through the show, the actors are given opportunities to inhabit these archetypes, develop them and then break them. For example, early into the show, each character is revealed to owe money to Mr. Boddy to keep some dark secret. This is a great bit for characterization, because through the scene, the audience is able to find out what their secret is, why they paid to keep it secret and how they react to said secret being shared.
This is incredibly well done, but the script isn’t the only part responsible for this amazing characterization. As Sam Stableford, who played Wadsworth, told The Sopris Sun, “I think all of us had a portion of ourselves that were our character.” This is evident on the stage, as every person inhabited their role astonishingly well, so much so that it felt as though I was watching real people.
But the charm of this show isn’t just found in the incredible characterization, but also the amazing antics. I was bursting out in laughter every time a joke landed. Every gag was so on-point and perfectly timed; and each was received by the audience as though it was — and must’ve been — perfectly refined. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Wadsworth: “I’m a butler.”
Guest: “What do you do?”
Wadsworth: “I buttle.”
Professor Plum (after Boddy’s body is found again): “He’s dead!”
Guest: “You said that last time!”
Professor Plum: “I believe in second chances!”
The comical staging was just as charming, with multiple objects (and bodies) falling on top of Mr. Green, an improvised post-mortem makeout party to fool a cop, and an extended Scooby-Doo style chase sequence, just to name a few.
That brings up the point of how well choreographed this whole show was. There were multiple shared lines and bits of choreo that were exceptionally well executed, especially for not being a musical. All in all, it is seriously impressive, and worth major props.
Now, “What good is this article?” You may be asking, if you can’t see this show for yourself. Well, as I said before, the next show by the spritely SoL Theatre Company has already been announced and is coming up quickly. Catch “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?” — a musical retelling of a classic Scooby episode — this weekend. There, perhaps, you’ll discover a Clue (eh?), and, of course, will get to show support for one of the strongest and most consistent youth theater groups on the Western Slope.
Thanks for showing up in advance. And just a tip, don’t accept any invitations to mansions owned by folks with easily punnable names — just in case.
Visit www.SoLtheatrecompany.org for tickets to the upcoming show.