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EMA Review: Cluelesque ****1/2 Positively Delicious

Updated: Jan 12




A Stripping Clue


By Paul Atreides

Author, playwright

Theatre critic at EatMoreArtVegas.com


Photography by Richard Brusky 


It’s not often that Las Vegas gets to see an actual World Premiere of a play. Vegas Theatre Company (VTC) is providing just such a treat with Cluelesque, written by Simone, VTC’s own Associate Artistic Director.

 

Deftly directed by Daz Weller and Simone, it’s over the top without going too far and making it all come off as ridiculous as the dialogue could make it.

 

Billed as a burlesque parody, the play is based on the 1985 film Clue, which was based on the British board game. Here, it’s the murder mystery with many vaudeville-type jokes and Airplane humor. It’s silly, sometimes ridiculous dialogue that makes you laugh anyway, despite the inclination to groan.

 

An ensemble cast of nine (C.B Aguilar, Jackie Lakoudis, Luke Allen, Karsyn Artemis Love, Dina Emerson, Venus Cobb, Ali Vesey, and Glenn Heath who is missing?) are at a dinner party, and the audience is invited, with some (VIP ticket holders) getting to assist with a few minor things. But just like with The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Shear Madness, the audience decides who the murderer is. That means that every performance is going to be different.

 

Kudos to Luke Allen for portraying the Pool Boy. He’s got a minuscule amount of dialogue and, at one point, gets tossed around like a rag doll. He remains so dedicated to the role that it’s a wonder he isn’t covered in bruises; whoever choreographed that did an exceptional job.



Because it is a burlesque, each character has a chance to do a burlesque striptease, which provides a clue as to why they could be the killer. That means there’s music. That’s where production trouble abounds. The live band overpowers some dialogue and even overpowers their vocalist during each striptease. If you’re familiar with “The Cell Block Tango” from Chicago, very cleverly done by this ensemble, the loss of lyrics won’t matter too much – you’ll get the gist.

 

The rest of the production values are well done—especially the set by Whitney Meltz. The mood and appearance of an old gothic mansion come to life, and the changes from room to room are accomplished in record time due to the crafty design. Arielle Brown’s lighting adds to the mysterious atmosphere.


A first performance of a new production will always have its problems. Within a few days, the kinks should be worked out. Go. Test out your detective skills and enjoy a fast-paced, fun two hours.


Cast:

Dina Emerson as Mrs. Woodpecker

Luke Allen as the Pool Boy

Karsyn Artemis Love as Ms. Off White

Ali Vesey as Miss Cherry

Venus Cobb as Colonel Mushroom

Marcus Weiss as Mr. Grass

Jackie Lakoudis as Ivet

CB Aguilar as Wordsworth


What: Cluelesque

When:  7:30 p.m. Fridays

7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturdays

5:00 p.m. Sundays

Through January 27

Where: 1025 S. 1st St., Suite 110

Tickets: $35 - $60 (www.theatre.vegas)

Grade:  ****1/2 Positively Delicious

 

Producer: Vegas Theatre Company; Artistic Director: Daz Weller; Director: Daz Weller, Simone; Musical Director: Isaac Tubb; Set Design: Whitney Meltz; Lighting Design: Arielle Brown; Sound Design: Jake Harell; Costume Design: Asia Milburn; Wig Design: Jason Bennett; Stage Manager: Jinay Reitz

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