Stage Coach Players balance a mix of comedy and sincerity in ‘Clue: On Stage’


Nyla Owens

From left to right: Larry Rapach, Lara Crowley, Denny Boynton, Todd Pope, Lacey Toigo and Bonnie Miller during their performance of “Clue: On Stage.” (Nyla Owens | Northern Star)

By Nick Glover, Lifestyle Editor

Editor’s note: This piece contains spoilers and discusses events that take place in “Clue: On Stage.”

On Friday night, the Stage Coach Players put on a great version of “Clue: On Stage,” rivaling more prestigious and even professional theaters with their comedic grace. 

“Clue: On Stage” is a play version of the “Clue” movie, which was based on the board game of the same name. 

Directed by Tim Ball, the play featured a relatively large main cast of eight actors. 

The play stars Denny Boynton as Professor Plum, Michael Mattingly as Wadsworth, Todd Pope as Colonel Mustard, Larry Rapach as Mr. Green, Amanda Smothers as Yvette, Lacy Toigo as Mrs. White, Bonnie Miller as Mrs. Peacock and, most well-known to NIU, English Professor Lara Crowley as Miss Scarlet.

The plot centers around a whodunit. A dead body is found at a party and the characters sneak around trying to hide from the murderer and figure out who they are. 

Similar to the movie, the play was littered with one-liners, non sequiturs, bits and gags. Every 30 seconds or so the audience was laughing. 

“If you’re a fan of the movie, then you’ll absolutely love this,” said Steve Laub, a Sugar Grove resident. “It was faithful, it was hilarious and everybody put a lot of heart into the production.”

While all the performances were great, there were three that exceeded all expectations.

Mattingly’s Wadsworth was excellent. His timing was on point, and the wit and levity that Mattingly brought to the character stood out. His stage presence was perfect for someone portraying a butler. His performance rivaled the legendary Tim Curry’s, the actor who played Wadsworth in the “Clue” movie.

Toigo’s Mrs. White was full of necessary attitude. Toigo was able to pair the angsty demeanor of Mrs. White with enough charm and presence to make her a character that the audience wants to root for. This stellar performance is even more impressive as it is Toigo’s first show with the Stage Coach Players.

Rapach’s Mr. Green cannot be forgotten. With his mixture of energetic Chris Farley-esque physical comedy and frenetic one-liners, Rapach’s performance stood out. 

Rapach is a seasoned actor, having worked with Stage Coach Players, the Woodstock Opera House, the Talisman Theater and Chicago Medieval Times. 

Despite this acclaim, instead of calling attention to himself, Rapach knows how to let the other actors on stage shine. 

“I keep driving my stupid carcass to DeKalb because it is a special place filled with special people,” Rapach said. “This is a really talented group of people.” 

Director Ball thinks of his cast and crew similarly. 

“People who want to do theater like this will help,” Ball said. “They will help make sure that something like this show does not fail. They will make sure it is the best it can be.” 

“Clue: On Stage” was stellar. 

Ball’s direction was spot-on due to his balance between quick physical comedy and slower, more witty comedy. 

The acting was just as balanced, giving the audience the perfect mix of comedy and sincerity. 

The play reached heights one would not expect from a theater of its class. It was able to elevate community theater to a truly memorable experience.