Yash Valsangkar, Webb Beatty, Abby Burns, Syeirra Todaro, and Maria Zacher listen for Clues in in William Mason High School’s production of Clue, High School Edition.
Review by Rebecca Hartman, Cooper High School Critic Team
As the house lights slowly dim to black, the pitter patter of rain overhead, a slight light sheds on the stage--A gameboard. Six characters ominously enter one by one, all using fake names. An air of mystery surrounds the audience. Who invited them? Only time will tell.
Clue is a play by Sandy Rustin, based on the iconic board game. The same letter calls six people to Mr. Boddy's mansion, where they are given a choice. They can double what they pay in blackmail to Mr. Boddy, or they can kill the butler. Each of them is given a weapon--a dagger, a rope, a revolver, a candlestick, a wrench, and a lead pipe. But when Mr. Boddy ends up dead on the floor, they realize there must be a murderer on the loose.
What really set Mason High School's production apart from the rest was the use of a black box theater. It allowed for use of the stage floor as a set, as well as full immersion of the audience into the show. Also, since the audience was on all four sides of the stage, every seat got a different perspective of the show.
The lead actor in this show was Gretchen Knuth, playing Wadsworth. She was full of energy and mystery throughout the show. One of her most notable moments was when she reenacted all of the important events leading up to the current scene. She was moving quickly, jumping from place to place, and from character to character.
Another actor worth mentioning was Molly Cronin for her role as Yvette . For this role, she spoke in a French accent. Her accent was impressive and consistent. She also gave her character a distinct walk, which she also kept consistent throughout the play. Connor Lape, playing Colonel Mustard, had excellent comedic timing.
Clue has lots of important sound cues, which are needed to set the scene and keep a dramatic façade. For this performance, every single sound cue was spot on, and that is due to the hard work of Samuel Aronoff, Gabby Soto , and Ellis Clay. The costume crew, led by Payton Glover, did a wonderful job of making each character unique and keeping them true to the original.
The hard work that Mason High School put into their show was quite evident. It was a marvelous performance, and they should be proud.
Ms. White, played by Syeirra Todaro is flirting with Professor Plum, played by Yash Valsangkar, in William Mason High School’s production of Clue, High School Edition.
Review by Grace Rudie, Ursuline Academy Critic Team
Doors were closed, lights were dimmed, and eerie yet familiar music started to play as Mason High School's production of Clue began. With a night filled with murder on the menu, the Mason creative team led with both strong technical and theatrical components.
Inspired by the classic board game of the same name, Clue is set on a ghostly and thunderous night, on top of the hill where Boddy Manor lies. One by one, six guests are greeted by the butler, Wadsworth, revealing that they are all being blackmailed by the owner of the mansion, Mr. Boddy. The mayhem begins when Mr. Boddy is found dead, and all the guests are holding murder weapons. The guests have suddenly become suspects and the game begins. In this classic case of who-done-it, the ultimate question permeates, was it Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, or Miss Scarlet?
The entrance of the theater played a double purpose as it was also the door of the mansion. It led to the stage that was painted in the familiar design of the board game. It displayed the different rooms of the estate large enough for the characters to act around the invisible walls and corridors. It provided an immersive space for the audience and the cast.
As the host of the evening, Gretchen Knuth's interpretation of the formal butler, Wadsworth was all-encompassing. She commanded the room and kept a tight hold on the suspense of the story. She also displayed an impressive range of her character. In contrast to the somber performance of Knuth, Webb Beatty's humorous Mr. Green generated much laughter in the theater. Beatty brought comic physicality to the role along with impressive tonal shifts at the conclusion of the second act. Miss Scarlet, played by Maria Zacher, leaned into the comedy of the show by having well-timed, witty lines while also bringing an elegant presence to her character.
Adding to the energy of the main suspects, the well-acted murder victims elevated the interest in the plot. Molly Cronin's Yvette was integral in moving the story forward with ferocity and wit. The Motorist, an innocent victim played by Nate Fox, made a big impact on the overall humor in his scene.
Many of the cast's comedic moments were reliant on the impeccable timing from the sound crew of Samuel Aronoff, Ellis Clay, and Gabby Soto. The rigging for the sound was impressive in a smaller theatre and the crew did an incredible job making sure the volume of the sound worked well with the actor's projections. Ellis Clay, Kaylin Bolen, and the stage crew were also noteworthy as the scene changes were performed with speed and efficiency. This crew worked well with the floor design to differentiate the rooms associated with each scene throughout the performance.
Combining the unique set design with the well-executed comedy of the cast, Mason High School's Clue told a fascinating tale of the flaws of human nature.
Yvette, Played by Molly Cronin, watches helplessly as Mr. Green, played by Webb Beatty is caught under a falling chandelier in William Mason High School’s production of Clue, High School Edition.
Review by Ava VanBuskirk, Loveland High School Critic Team
The doors are locked; the windows are barred; let the game begin! At William Mason High School, the classic board game Clue took the stage in a dramatic, mysterious, and utterly hilarious form. Set in the 1950's, six seemingly random people are called to the home of Mr. Boddy (Miguel Castro) on a stormy evening. When Boddy is mysteriously killed, chaos ensues and fingers are pointed. The six randoms, who are under pseudonyms, become six suspects; a classic murder mystery is afoot.
Perhaps in one of the most influential roles in the show, Gretchen Knuth (Wadsworth) was captivating in her approach. Near the end of the play, she gave a lengthy monologue in which she retraced the plot of the whole show, in an attempt to discern the perpetrator(s). She delivered her speech in a fast-paced, almost hectic fashion, which intelligently reflected the tone of the show as a whole. As it was given at the climax of the play, Knuth did a wonderful job keeping the audience interested during her dedicated reenactment-- at times dropping to her knees and putting on impressions of other characters. This was particularly admirable given the fact that it was just her speaking for minutes at a time.
Undoubtedly, the sound crew (Samuel Aronoff, Ellis Clay, and Gabby Soto) had to be on top of things in order to maintain the pace of the show. There were dozens of sound effects and cues that enhanced the production, making it believable and humorous all the same. The crew had a good understanding of the script and what was necessary to bring their show to life. A great moment was the musical sequence at the beginning of the second act, which was brought to life by assistant directors Delaney Cowles and Kendall Davis. There was an intense dance between Wadsworth and Mrs. White (Syeirra Todaro), as well as the use of flashlights by the cast members instead of technical lighting, which made the on-edge mood more intensive and believable.
The students as a whole made clever use of their space, interacting with the audience and keeping scene changes incredibly efficient, as well as creating a stage that was modeled after the original board game (Angie Bonilla and Nithilaa Ramachandhran).
The entire cast had incredible chemistry and played off of each other very well. With a show like Clue, it is super important to perfect comedic timing and line delivery, and this group did just that. Even those that were not part of the six suspects, such as the Motorist (Nate Fox), who portrayed comical confusion despite the ultimate demise of his character, were essential to the intrigue and comedy that William Mason High School produced.
Abby Burns, playing Mrs. Peacock, tries to figure out who did it in William Mason High School’s production of Clue, High School Edition.
Excerpts from Other Top Reviews
"Another actress of note is Molly Cronin as Yvette the maid, who stole the show with her ability to play a woman who was astute and not afraid to do what was necessary. Her French accent and extensive French vocabulary was quite impressive."
-Charlotte Weghorst, Highlands High School Critic Team
"Even though this particular show is very fast paced with a chaotic plot, the cast and crew did amazing at keeping energy high with smooth transitions. This show called for a lot of different locations in a short amount of time, and everyone involved delivered seamless journeys from room to room of Boddy Manor. Another thing that stood out was this cast's diction. Even while they were screaming in fear or accusing each other of murder, you could clearly make out every word."
-Adelaide Sheets, Campbell County High School Critic Team
"Mason's Clue: High School Edition was full of impressive tech elements. The costumes, created by Payton Glover and crew, displayed extreme attention to detail. Professor Plum's suit jacket, for example, featured purple elbow patches and a matching tie. Miss Peacock's ensemble included a feathered and hand-bedazzled dress, with coordinating shoes and hat. Hair and makeup had a symbiotic relationship with costumes, complimenting the actor's outfits but never distracting. Sam Aronoff and Sarah Bartlett's set design, though minimal, effectively transported the audience into the original board game Clue, notably utilizing enlarged game pieces as preshow decorations and two blocks painted to look like a set of dice as a chair. Set changes were notably quick and efficient."
-Katie Berich, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team
"It would not be a comedy without the sarcastic, clever female lead. Maria Zacher's Miss Scarlet was just that. Throughout the show, her banter with her castmates was quick-witted as well as amusing. Her nimble remarks during the secret passage scene were terrific. Zacher was able to keep the audience included while not spending too much of her time worrying about it."
-Claire Childers, Mercy McAuley High School Critic Team
"Additionally, Webb Beatty in the role of Mr. Green was the definition of iconic. Aided by the props crew, led by Abbie Dreyer, Beatty had the ability to make Mr. Green go from a timid guy afraid of weapons like the wrench to the heroic FBI agent at the end of Act II."
-Katie Mundy, St. Ursula Academy Critic Team
"The lighting and sound cues by Maria Zacher, Prachi Patel, and others; allowed for smooth transitions between scenes as well as dramatizing the murders and revelations. The costumes crew headed by Payton Glover created time-period accurate pieces that gave each character a distinct look, such as Mr. Mustard's uniform that stayed in a yellow color palette and conveyed his military status. Also, the props team headed by Abbie Dreyer created many unique props that helped further the plot, such as the fridge that concealed a dead body. The set itself was a masterpiece that looked like the Clue gameboard and helped transition locations."
-Lily Anderson, St. Ursula Academy Critic Team
"Mason High School really brought the mystery and - light-hearted murder - of Clue to life, fully immersing the audience and making them feel like a part of the show."
-Emily Merica, Ursuline Academy Critic Team