Wednesday, February 21, 2024

C.L.U.E. by Collide Theatrical Dance

The ensemble of C.L.U.E.
Collide Theatrical Dance's new production C.L.U.E. (playing at the Southern Theater February 16-March 10) is a takeoff on the popular board game, as you might have guessed. 

However, instead of Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard, we meet a different set of characters, introduced by Mr. Bottie (Nathan Huberty), who is being threatened by one of them. Each character has their own dance that tells their story and their relationship to the others. As with most Collide productions, the majority of the story is told through dance but Huberty does double duty as dancer and narrator, showing impressive breath control when he speaks right after an energetic dance!

The simple set is augmented by projections (designed by Peter Morrow) that introduce the characters and show the different rooms. And of course, weapons are introduced. At intermission, the audience is asked to vote on the murderer, the weapon, and the murder location via a QR code in the program or by writing down choices on a paper form at the box office. The votes are tallied, and the most selected answers are acted out by the company. 

The choreography (to mostly pop music) by company founder Regina Peluso is very fun to watch, and there are some nice touches that remind the audience of the show's board game origins, as each suspect character has a default pose and are moved by Mr. Bottie in a particular way when they are brought to the forefront of the stage. The dancers are very talented and have their own styles and specialties. 

It's an enjoyable evening of dance and humor, with a satisfying ending (or endings) that brings everything together, more or less. If you enjoy dance that tells a story, Collide is a wonderful company to follow, and C.L.U.E. is another stellar example of their work.