Of all the varied experiential art forms in Southern California, there is none that I missed more during the pandemic than immersive theater. And now that we’ve got theme parks back, it’s also time to return to the world of intimate live performances with audience interaction. The first example of said form I’ve been able to take part in during the post-COVID-vaccine era is “Clue LIVE! A Walking Experience” at Westfield Century City’s outdoor shopping mall.

Based on the iconic 1949 board game Cluedo (known as “Clue” in North America), “Clue LIVE! A Walking Experience” brings to life the murder-mystery concept by casting local actors in the famous roles of Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard, and the rest– having guests act as detectives investigating the homicide of the late Mr. Boddy.

“Clue LIVE!” has participants trek around the expansive Westfield Century City plaza, led by the informative and energetic Mr. Butler (or Ms. Butler, in the case of our showtime) as the puzzle unfolds through the library, kitchen, conservatory, billiard room, and other recognizable rooms from the board game– represented here by simple backdrops placed around the mall. Of course, each suspect becomes associated with one of the familiar weapons, as well (think lead pipe, candlestick, revolver, wrench, etc.), and it’s up to the audience to discover who offed Mr. Boddy with what implement in which location– again, just like the game.

We partook in a Thursday evening performance of “Clue LIVE!” and walked away commenting about how the absolute best part of the experience is the collection of actors assembled to deliver this concept. Each member of the ensemble brings their all to the various parts, and we definitely got a kick out of seeing the unique takes on these characters previously embodied (no pun intended) by a star-studded cast in 1985’s Clue movie directed by Jonathan Lynn. Some minor problems set in when an actor was forced to deliver their soliloquy– not to mention answer questions posed by the amateur sleuths in the crowd– under an extremely loud PA speaker pumping out Westfield’s top-40 music mix. It made for an odd juxtaposition of tones that Ms. Butler did her best to explain away in-story, but still proved to be a distraction from what we were ostensibly there to accomplish.

Indeed, suspension of disbelief is a major factor of “Clue LIVE!” in this particular venue. Players must pretend to be sneaking around the old Tudor Mansion, which is an image sometimes difficult to conjure while walking around between Gelson’s supermarket and the Disney Store (non-participant mall patrons are similarly dismissed as “ghosts” trying to interfere in the investigation). We also had some trouble figuring out the best type of question to ask each suspect, but in the end enough information is conveyed outside of the interrogations for the audience to piece together the solution… with a number of helpful hints from Ms. Butler, naturally. Overall I think “Clue LIVE! A Walking Experience” works as a very basic, entry-level immersive theater event that might be ideal for first-timers or those wanting to get their feet wet on such adventures after a long year without them. But seasoned veterans of the immersive form will likely find it lacking in complexity and may want to wait for more interesting things coming up later in the year.

“Clue LIVE! A Walking Experience” runs daily (except Mondays) at Westfield Century City from now through August 8, with tickets available at Fever. Tickets for subsequent dates at the Westfield Topanga & The Village location are coming soon.