It really doesn’t matter who killed whom, or why, or how. San Francisco Playhouse’s latest production, the murder-mystery farce “Clue,” based on the 1985 movie of the same name and written by Sandy Rustin based on the Hasbro board game, is so funny, so elegantly performed, directed and designed, that nothing much else matters, certainly not the ultimate reveal—although that’s hilarious, too. 

In fact, you really barely need to know the basics: Six people, all strangers to one another, have been summoned to a dinner party at a grand mansion (beautifully detailed set design by Heather Kenyon, complete with multiple, slammable doors, a hidden library and salon that rotate in and out on platforms, the requisite crystal chandelier) by a mysterious someone, for a mysterious purpose. 

Naturally, in the beginning, the wall sconces provide only a scary, dim glow (Derek Duarte, lighting designer), and there’s the inevitable lightning and ear-splitting thunder (Dan Holland, sound designer). 

And of course every guest has something to hide, some skeleton in their personal closet, and every guest, from the nervously smiling Mrs. Peacock to the oddly stone-faced Mrs. White, will jump and scream multiple times throughout the play, and the more they do it—as gunshots echo and body after body is suddenly discovered, always in a weird pose—the funnier it is. Only an ensemble this perfectly tuned could accomplish that. 

For example, there’s Michael Ray Wisely’s Colonel Mustard, with a constant dimwitted and befuddled facial expression that somehow seems to dribble down through his whole body. 

 There’s Stacy Ross’ jumpy and ditsy Mrs. Peacock with cat eye glasses and an absolutely ridiculous poufy hat (witty, over-the-top costumes by Alice Ruiz). 

There’s Michael Gene Sullivan, one of the Bay Area’s funniest actors, as the self-important Professor Plum (in plum-colored trousers)—just keeping an eye on him alone is a viable option. 

Watch for the way corpses collapse into impossible configurations, like wet noodles, the way Margherita Ventura’s pert French maid manages to assume a different saucy pose for every minute or two of stage time, the way inventive director Susi Damilano never misses an opportunity for a sight gag or a chance to choreograph the way the actors waltz, prance, mince, scurry or slither their way across the stage. 

Guests at Boddy Manor take notice of the butler (Dorian Lockett, left), maid (Margherita Ventura) and their host (Will Springhorn Jr, second from right) in San Francisco Playhouse’s fun production of “Clue.” (Jessica Palopoli/Courtesy SF Playhouse)

And it’s largely due to Damilano’s vision that every element coalesces (a slight glitch with a rotating set on opening night did nothing to undermine the proceedings) and that there’s not a weak link in the 11-member cast, which includes Renee Rogoff’s implacable Mrs. White, who may have killed her husband; Courtney Walsh, all slinky as the tough and sinuous Miss Scarlet; and Dorian Lockett in the longest and most outrageous death scene you’ve ever seen on stage. 

You don’t have to be a puzzle-addict or a murder-mystery afficionado to enjoy “Clue.” But if you don’t laugh, you might be, well, officially . . . dead. 

 “Clue” continues through April 22 at San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., San Francisco. Tickets are $15-$100. Call (415) 677-9596 or visit