FSLT back in business with mystery-comedy romp

FSLT back in business with mystery-comedy romp
LARA JO HIGHTOWER
lhightower@nwadg.com

Murder may seem like a strange subject for a board game, but when English musician Anthony Pratt devised a game centered around one, it was an almost immediate hit. “Cluedo” — a combination of the word “clue” and “ludo,” the Latin word for “I play” — was first released in 1949 and has been one of the world’s most popular board games since. Only minor changes have been made to the original game play over the years: three to six players must figure out where a person was murdered, with what instrument and, finally, whodunit, all by eliminating suspects and murder weapons, one by one. The game is so popular that it’s inspired two feature films, multiple books, a musical and a mini-series — as well as a stage play, adapted from the original 1985 movie screenplay. It’s this madcap physical comedy with which Fort Smith Little Theatre has decided to open their 2021 season.

“This has been a long road — I originally submitted the show to our production committee a few seasons ago, but we couldn’t get the performance rights,” says Rikkee Black, who, along with husband Scott, is co-directing the show. “So FSLT requested an early securing of rights, and we scheduled ‘Clue’ to open the 2021 season last February. Unfortunately, our theater was still shut down due to the covid-19 pandemic, so the show was delayed until now.”

“Join the iconic oddballs known as Scarlet, Plum, White, Green, Peacock and Mustard as they race to find the murderer before the body count stacks up,” reads the description of the show, which the film critic for D.C. Metro calls “a delightful screwball lark” that has a “dizzy, stimulating joy that makes it a whole lot of fun.” FSLT veteran actor Mickie Voelkel agrees.

“This play is hilarious, fast and physical,” she says. “We run up and down stairs, in and out of doors, fall on the floor, hyperventilate and drag around ‘bodies.’ It’s been really fun, but I have to admit I’m sore.”

The fun quotient for the show, says actor Eric Wells, is high.

“I remember there was a movie of ‘Clue’ but I had not seen it,” says Wells, who plays Mr. Green. “After sitting down to watch it, I knew this would be a show I’d love to be in. The story is full of comedy that everyone will enjoy. I am having the time of my life rehearsing for this show.”

When “Clue” opens on Sept. 23, it will be the first show on the FSLT stage in 18 months; the theater closed its doors in March 2020 because of the global pandemic. Sherry Hester, president of the FSLT Board of Directors, says she’s thrilled that the theater will see an audience again.

“Welcome back!” enthuses Hester. “Among the many losses caused by covid-19 has been the opportunity for us to be together. Due to the pandemic, our stage has been dark for 18 long months. We look forward to once again filling our seats and providing our area with the unique entertainment that only live theater can provide.”

FSLT says in a press release that the cast members of “Clue” have all been fully vaccinated and have rehearsed “under conditions recommended by the CDC, including use of masks during rehearsal.” Patrons should check the theater company’s website at fslt.org for details on precautions being taken for entry to the show prior to purchasing tickets.

__

FAQ

‘Clue’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23-25 and Sept. 29- Oct. 2; 2 p.m. Sept. 26

WHERE — Fort Smith Little Theatre, 401 N. Sixth St., Fort Smith

COST — $12

INFO — 783-2966

Categories: Theater