A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

“Clue”: A delightful experience with a touch of murder

Tom Chown
Santa Rosa Junior College Theatre Art’s latest production, “Clue,” is a hilarious comedic murder mystery that serves as a fantastic opening for its 2023-2024 season.

When I found my seat in the Burbank Auditorium Main Theatre to see Santa Rosa Junior College’s production of “Clue,” I looked up at the stage and was awestruck. The set had an incredibly satisfying color palette and geometry. The walls consisted of a wood texture and color blended in with a green wallpaper. Four doors adorned said walls in sets of two, with each side equidistant from the double doors in the centermost part of the back of the set. It was perfectly crafted, much like the rest of the performance.

The stage adaptation of “Clue” is based on the 1985 film, which was adapted from a board game, and the play pays homage to both. The plot features six color-coordinated characters who are all invited to the mansion of Mr. Boddy, played by Logan Witthaus. When their host winds up dead, they are joined by the butler, Wadsworth, played by Jay K. Raja, and the maid, Yvette, played by Austin Aquino-Harrison, to figure out who among them is the killer.

Despite being a murder mystery, “Clue” is also a comedy, and the whole cast did an immaculate job at making the entire audience laugh multiple times through visual gags, wordplay and comedic banter.

The entire cast was fantastic, but Juliya Lubin as the vivacious Miss Scarlet went above and beyond in her acting. While everyone skillfully played with their characters’ unique quirks, Lubin went further by being exceptionally expressive with both her face and her body; her character quirks outshined the others.

If Lubin’s performance excelled in physical expressions, Raja shined with his highly animated acting. The way that he used his entire body greatly enhanced both the visual and verbal comedy and complimented his line delivery.

As mentioned earlier, the set was aesthetically pleasing; however, it was also impressively functional. The doors closest to the audience on both sides of the stage were attached to a retractable wall that could be pulled out to create the illusion of being in another room. Set pieces also descended from above the stage to give the illusion of different rooms.

As for lighting, the color choices were perfect for setting the tone of choice, and it was impressive how color and effects gave a clear depiction of time slowing down or even reversing.

The show contained several allusions to its conceptual origins as a board game, and I loved the attention to detail when I spotted them. For example, when moving to a different room as a group, characters rigidly walk in a single file line along a set path, oftentimes ending with space apart or crashing into each other, much like pieces on a board.

Smaller one-time allusions included the appearance of the board itself and a cheeky name-drop of the game’s original American publisher.

It was extremely difficult to find anything negative about the performance, largely because there wasn’t room for any. All of the acting, props and set pieces were so interconnected and integral to the comedy that the quality of the show would suffer if one aspect wasn’t as strong.

If anything, the stage violence could have been more believable. However, this is merely a nitpick as the characters’ reactions were enough to effectively portray exactly what was happening.

Overall, “Clue” sets a high bar at the start for Santa Rosa Junior College Theatre Arts’s 2023-2024 season, serving as a stellar showcase of the cast and crew’s talent. With fantastically executed comedy and surprising twists, “Clue” thoroughly entertains its audiences.

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About the Contributor
Lucas Cadigan-Carranza
Lucas Cadigan-Carranza is in his fourth semester at The Oak Leaf. He has been at SRJC for much longer, having already earned his degrees in English, game programming and humanities. While not usually an overachiever, he has decided to go for the journalism major as well due to the subject providing a much greater interest. He has enjoyed his time as The Oak Leaf's Theatre Arts reporter but also very much enjoys talking about video games.

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