Kookaburra Queen Showboat Cruises’ paddle wheeler is likely to be on most Brisbane Bucket Lists. If you have been waiting for an excuse to visit then the 2017 Anywhere Festival offers a number of opportunities to make that long-intended booking: Cluedo! The Interactive Game, Pepper Jane, and Sugar Sugar! are all Anywhere Festival events taking place on the Kookaburra Cruises boat. For the price of a ticket you get entertainment, food, and (for Cluedo) a three-hour trip on a Brisbane icon.
Brisbane Immersive Ensemble has brought together a cast of your favourite characters from the Hasbro board game to create Cluedo! The Interactive Game. And the boat provides a great space for the event: the two main levels ensure there is plenty of space for movement and seating, with the observation deck offering a quieter space to enjoy the Brisbane skyline (if the excitement of pursuing your favourite Cluedo character gets too much). There are only three points during the evening when everyone needs to be on the main deck of the boat: the safety briefing, the moment when 'the game' starts, and of course at the conclusion of the event. There are 2 bars (one on each of the two larger decks), so if there is a queue at one the other is likely to be empty.
As the characters assemble, and the guests have their welcome drink in hand, the party begins with a speech from our gracious host. In welcoming us all to ‘his’ ship, Dr Black announces that he knows a secret about one of the main guests... setting the scene for an inevitable and gruesome discovery later in the evening. And yes, there are 6 rooms, 6 possible murder weapons, and 6 characters...
The Cluedo performers were suitably visible and always appeared in character—no mean feat for being on stage for over 3 hours (boarding commences promptly at 6:30pm, with a return to Eagle Street Pier at 10pm). I particularly loved seeing Col Mustard brought so vividly to life; the actor was immersed in the part, taking on his role with great gusto ("God Save the King!'). Miss Scarlett was suitably superior in a very elegant outfit, and Madame Peacock certainly made a fabulous famous author.
Dressing the part is optional, but it was great to see how many of the couples and groups in the audience had risen to the challenges of a 1936 event. Jazz age and roaring twenties themes prevailed. Visit the Anywhere Theatre Festival Facebook page for photographs by Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography, for some photographs from the opening night performance (and of members of the audience).
The general air of excitement as people boarded quickly built into a hubbub of chatter. The vast majority of the audience took the opportunity to pursue the cast around the boat with great enthusiasm: interrogating their favourite Cluedo characters (even when apparently engaging in light social chit chat) and generally connecting with their fellow passengers.
The promotion promised swinging jazz music. Music from the 4-piece band was a great accompaniment to the evening. Even as the investigations started there was always suitable background music, and the closing performances as we came back to the dock really showed what they could do (a great "Minnie the Moocher"). The music was not only provided by the band. I loved the idea of having each of 6 main characters being called to the microphone to sing during the earlier part of the evening (who knew that Mrs White was also a chanteuse, making the perfect choice of song, about 'ven I'm cleaning windows'!). So make sure you spend time down on the main deck.
And also ensure you take up the invitation to question each of the characters. A great way to connect with other guests, it enhances your experience of the evening. My final tip is to make sure you are downstairs promptly for the dénouement. It’s worth it.
On the opening night there were occasional problems with the microphones and sound, which should be fully resolved by the next show. The audience were certainly ready for the murder to begin a little earlier (even just 15 minutes sooner would allow for more investigative time?). But hats off to the Brisbane Immersive Ensemble—and in particular to Xanthe Jones (Director and Miss Scarlet), Siobhan Batt (Production designer), and Ben Lynskey (Designer for this live action version of Cluedo). But ultimately, as Dr Black said, "you [the audience] were the stars."
I hope you get the chance to tick the paddle wheeler trip off your bucket list. The food looked good, with the desserts looking particularly great. Having looked at options online, the high teas look fantastic; I may just have to go along and see what the Kookaburra Cruises trip is without a murder. …
The reviewer attended Cluedo! The Interactive Game at Kookaburra Queen Showboat Cruises, on Friday, 5th May 2017.
Note: Non-smoking boat. Cluedo! The Interactive Game is on for only two shows during the 2017 Anywhere Festival (5th and 19th May. 2017). Tickets: $99.00. 180 mins. Cluedo! The Interactive Game is one of two Cluedo-themed productions at the Anywhere Festival (the second being Professor Plum, In The Parlour, With The Pineapple which takes place at the Paddington substation) .