Colonel Mustard in the Conservatory with a candlestick! Well, that's how I have always hoped it would end... Nevertheless, the infamy of Cluedo has returned from it's board-game glory, finding a new home tucked away in the labyrinth of Baedecker in Fortitude Valley.
This stunning wine bar, built in 1900's has transported us back to 1930's high society to become the destination for the most fabulous soiree this side of the century – Dr. Black's party. It's important to note that what makes this production even more enticing is that every show is as unique as the weapon, murderer and room – with the cards drawn at the beginning of the night. The element of surprise is all too real as not even the actors themselves know who the murderer will be on the night. A real-deal exercise in theatrical chance.
As we entered the ballroom we were greeted by Dr. Black himself (Colin Smith) who's charming and almost devious atmosphere gave a little taste of what's in store. After collecting a glass of sparkling we were quick to start the identifying process. So much effort was put in to costume and dress code that it was almost difficult to tell the actors from the patrons, which I found to be one of my fondest notes to point. It was excellent to see patrons put in such effort and buy into the theatrics of the night. It didn't take long for us to be approached by Professor Plum (Joel O'Brien) who regaled us with his tales of Egypt and the terrible curse of Tutankhamun. With an impressive level of background information and presence we felt the intrigue build as the night began to play out. We were encouraged to engage with the characters or even 'stalk' in an attempt to sleuth for clues. Whilst searching for that infamous candlestick we caught a glimpse of scenes unfolding and it became very apparent that if we are watching a heated argument between Miss Scarlett (Geena Schwartz) and Dr Black what else were we missing? Exchanges between attendees later reveal other scenes were unfolding throughout all of the rooms involving all suspects: the plucky German maid Mrs. White (Jessica Kate Ryan) or the amusingly sozzled Colonel Mustard (played this night by Damien Campagnolo). A musical performance from the exquisite Madame Peacock (on this night played by Aurelie Roque) and many sultry eyes from the Reverend Green (Tristan Teller).
Drawn into the atmosphere of the evening we wandered through the secret doorways, sipping on cocktails from an old fashioned menu as we casually eaves dropped on scandalous scenes between suspects. Suddenly I found myself playing the part as I fumbled through an impromptu game of cards hosted by Dr. Black in the drawing room! What an absolute hoot! It's a good lesson in immersing yourself in confrontational situations and testing your own improv skills as scenes unfold and wrap you up in the unfolding scandals. Gathered in the ballroom, enjoying the band blow some smooth jazz we hear a murderous scream! THIS is when the evening becomes real. Someone has met their demise! As the next hour unfolds the guests become honorary detectives, armed with a Tom Collins' worth of clues. Swapping stories with fellow sleuths, interrogating the 'suspects' under the watchful and direct eye of Detective Oliver Moss (Tom Harris) as we race against time to find the murderer! Was it Miss Scarlett in the Dining Hall? Reverend Green in the Parlour? Colonel Mustard has a revolver but won't reveal it – hmmm... seems suspicious... Detective Oliver Moss keeps us in check and moving swiftly through interrogations as we are frantically correlating evidence and submitting an answer to Chief Inspector Puce with a feverish sense of excitement.
Drawn into the ballroom the suspects are lined up and knocked out as we find out 'who dunnit' Huzzah! This night our team was victorious as Miss Scarlett got dragged away for the crime. The actors really put everything into their character, almost like an alter ego. It takes an intense level of commitment to forget who you are and truly immerse yourself in the part. Brisbane Immersive Ensemble could not be a more apt name for this fantastic cast of performers. Even the saxophonist was a brilliant purveyor of dismay-on-queue.
So much more could be said about the performance and the evening as a whole, but honestly, it would ruin the intrigue. If I were a lover of puns (and by gads I am!) I would say that an exciting night of real-life Cluedo is well-played, indeed. The music, the fun and frivolity of the evening really sells the joy of interactive theatre and reminds you that sometimes life is nothing more than a game. If you don't seek the truth before time runs out it might just remain a (murder) mystery...
Brisbane Immersive Ensemble presents
CLUEDO! THE INTERACTIVE GAME
Venue: Baedecker Wine Bar | 111 Constance St, Fortitude Valley QLD
Dates: 17 April – 25 May 2019
Tickets: $79 – $109