MICF: Lucy Henderson Comedy Cluedo

by | Apr 1, 2024

By Chenoah Eljan

Lucy Henderson has been killed and her audience tasked with figuring out her murderer, the location of her death, and the murder weapon – all within a single hour. It is a big ask, but Lucy’s ghost comes prepared with a small TV monitor and powerpoint presentation and a confidence that every member of her audience is well-versed in the game of Cluedo. (She is not wrong, those who have never heard of Cluedo are unlikely to be selecting comedy shows with the name in the title, or likewise roaming alleys of inner-city Melbourne.) Lucy’s ghost selects volunteers from the audience to act as detectives who each take turns to select a room, a suspect, and a potential weapon for her to explore. Each selection prompts stories from Henderson, with no particular theme or chronology. At the end the audience is asked to guess the circumstances of her murder based on all they have learned.

It is an ambitious format for a newcomer, requiring Henderson to perform the portions of the show in a different order each time. In theory the concept is enticing, but in practice it is disjointed with limited through-lines for the audience to hold on to. It is a lot of information, but with no momentum, timing or build. Call back jokes happen before the jokes themselves. And pace is Henderson’s primary challenge. The show feels slow, even when she is speaking fast. There are a lot of in-betweens, pauses for effect (but no effect), and opportunities for the audiences’ minds to drift. One cannot help but think this would have been an entirely different, and more enjoyable, show had Henderson had the benefit of a director.

And yet, Henderson’s strongest moments are not the elaborate format or the practiced punchlines. There are glimmers of a spark when Henderson interacts with the audience and is – unaided by the powerpoint and the rehearsed nod for emphasis – just being herself. Young, a bit raw, a bit vulnerable, but undoubtedly clever. Comedy Cluedo is a fun idea, and a potentially thrilling format for both audience and performer, but Henderson would be well served by paring it back and focusing on her truths. Her life and travels which form the primary content of her murder mystery backstory no doubt abound with humour and relatable content and yet this is lost with such a focus on plot. There is no comedy in the locale in which she bought drugs under false pretenses, and yet the format requires the emphasis on just that when potentially greater humour could have been found in the back and forth between her and a friend or the language barriers faced by Contiki tour participants looking to cement Australia’s reputation in Europe.

Henderson should be commended for her creativity in this format, but the execution makes this show difficult to engage with and far less funny than Henderson herself. There is a lot of potential here, but none of it was quite realised this time.

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