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Go Sleuthing for a “Clue” During This Classic SF Playhouse Whodunit

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“Clue” opened on March 16th at the San Francisco Playhouse with an interactive twist. Director Susi Damilano enlisted professional puzzle-smith Matthew Stein for theater goers to enjoy before or after the show. It gave guests the chance to go sleuthing through the lobby to both uncover clues and enjoy the beautiful space. The experience was a perfect mystery hors d’oeuvre to the hilarious, slapstick whodunit that is “Clue”.

Miss Scarlet (Courtney Walsh), Mrs. White (Renee Rogoff), Mrs. Peacock (Stacy Ross), Professor Plum (Michael Gene Sullivan), Mr. Green (Greg Ayers), and Colonel Mustard (Michael Ray Wisely) eavesdrop in San Francisco Playhouse’s “Clue,” performing March 9 – April 22.
Photo Credit: Jessica Palopoli

Guests who can figure out the pre-show puzzle will receive access to a bespoke cocktail at the theater bar. It should take about 10-15 minutes and will most definitely add a bit of unexpected fun to your night.

The San Francisco Playhouse is celebrating its 20th season. If you have never been, it is located on the second floor of the Kensington Park Hotel. I’ve always enjoyed the theater’s nooks and crannies. Working through the puzzle mystery beforehand will give you the chance to get to know this gorgeous old building as well as getting to know the personality of the the theater itself. For example, did you know SF Playhouse identifies as an Empathy Gym? Do you know what and Empathy Gym is? I still do not, but you can find a statement about it as you are searching the space for clues.

The suspects (clockwise from upper left: Michael Ray Wisely, Michael Gene Sullivan, Greg Ayers, Stacy Ross, Renee Rogoff, and Courtney Walsh) receive potential murder weapons in San Francisco Playhouse’s “Clue,” performing March 9 – April 22.
Photo Credit: Jessica Palopoli

The stage version of “Clue” was written by actor and playwright Sandy Rustin and was based on the 1985 film adaptation by Jonathan Lynn. This in turn, is based on the board game that has had all of us guessing since 1943. The film starred beloved favorites such as Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn and Lesley Ann Warren.

Susi Damilano pulled together a talented cast for this production that did not disappoint. Each of the color coded suspects came in strong and defined their quirks and ability to deliver hilarity from their very first lines. It was full of dark humor.

The story moved fast and the physical comedy is spot on. I could watch Greg Ayers who played Mr. Green run back and forth across the stage with his arsenal of silly walks all day. Mrs. Peacock (portrayed by Stacy Ross) was a wonderful upstanding-ish foil to Mr. Mustard’s (Played by Michael Ray Wisely’s) mostly insane proclamations. Dorian Lockett, who played Wadsworth, the butler who buttles, kept the play moving at its breakneck pace with joyous mischief.

The ending is a surprise, as it always is when “Clue” is involved. The play definitely had some fun with the “aha” moment at the finale. It’s witty, it’s smart and it can make fun of itself in a really endearing way. SF Playhouse provides a really enjoyable evening full of puzzles, mysteries and cocktails.

More Information: “Clue” written by Sandy Rustin. Directed by Susi Damilano. Runs through April 22, 2023. Runtime is 90 minutes. Tickets are $30.00-$100.00.

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Vita Hewitt

Vita Hewitt

Vita is a half Chinese-Malaysian, photograph taking, plant foraging, vegetable garden growing, astronaut impersonating, conceptual art creating Bay Area human. She loves exploring the intricacies of the Bay Area Art Scene.