INDIANAPOLIS — It was a dark and stormy night when six shady characters walked into a comedy.
That’s the premise of the murder mystery “Clue,” based on the Parker Brothers’ board game and running through Feb. 5 at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. (By chance, it really was rainy on the night we went.)
The whodunit opens the theatre’s 50th anniversary season, also marking 42 years since it was purchased by Douglas E. Stark and Bob Zehr. Stark and his children are now the owners.
The upcoming season includes “An American in Paris,” which was postponed from 2020 by the pandemic; the huge cast of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat;” the season family show of “Beauty and the Beast;” “Footloose;” and the Indy debut of the musical ”Grumpy Old Men,” among others.
In the game Clue, initially designed some 80 years ago in England, players explore rooms of a mansion to uncover murder suspects and weapons.
In this stage adaptation, characters move — often humorously jogging — through a pentagon of doors, a clever concept that keeps set changes to a minimum.
The time is the 1940s era of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which receives a minor mention but enough to cast suspicion on six visitors brought together by a mansion owner. There is enough that we feel something, whether its warmth or disgust, for the suspects.
The pace is generally witty and quick, avoiding deep characterizations in favor of letting bodies stack up.
And rather than extend action or allegations past our patience, the show is less than two hours. But even when comically slowing down, and rewinding, the final clues the plot strides along.
So while the stage set reflects a dark and stormy night, “Clue” offers an evening of warmth and wit.