No technical snag is going to stop the screams as folks get entertainingly murdered at Boddy Manor.

As the body count was notching up Wednesday evening at Minneapolis' Orpheum Theatre, a technical glitch stopped things halfway through the national tour launch of "Clue," the old Hasbro board game that was made into a 1985 Paramount film and has now become a theatrical comedy.

An art piece that functions as the cover of a safe errantly swung open and stayed that way in the madcap whodunit. The snafu caused a five-minute pause that doubled as an unscheduled intermission for what is ordinarily an 80-minute one-act play that creators have likened to a bullet train.

Far from being fatal to the show, the hiccup seemed to inspire actors Tari Kelly and Mark Price, who stoutly ran back their scene as dinner guest Mrs. White and butler Wadsworth hunting for the real killer in the farce. These two gave a fine example of rising from a setback, with Price delivering an ovation-worthy turn as the mile-a-minute, voice-juggling butler who may or may not have done it.

The rest of the well-oiled comic ensemble, including John Shartzer as Mr. Green, John Treacy Egan as Colonel Mustard and Michelle Elaine as Miss Scarlet, roared back with similar oomph and verve.

"Clue" is on the Hennepin Theatre Trust's roster of touring Broadway shows. But it hasn't played on Broadway and is not a musical.

Still, director Casey Hushion's fluid, fast-paced production has the cadence of musical comedy, with snippets of dance and comic group choreography. There's also underscoring throughout, with composer Michael Holland's dramatic musical flourishes often tied to the characters' antic and expertly timed movements.

And Sandy Rustin's taut script teems with insider and har-har puns.

If it all works, it's because this "Clue" doesn't take itself too seriously even as it is efficiently executed with risky elements like chandelier drops. It has a really strong ensemble, from Joanna Glushak as diffident Mrs. Peacock to Mariah Burks as The Cook who also gets served up as a macabre course. Jonathan Spivey is pert as secretly disgraced Professor Plum and Elisabeth Yancey puts the coquette in French maid Yvette.

As in the board game and the film, there are myriad ways to die in "Clue" — by knife, lead pipe and wrench, by candlestick, rope and revolver, and by that old standby, poison. And some of the guests who've come to Boddy Manor are suspects in deaths that are pretty ghoulish, with murder weapons protruding from victims' heads and backs.

(Two of the funniest scenes in "Clue" involve attempts to hide the bodies of the not-so-dearly departed.)

Still, the show doesn't feel like a trip through a Halloween zombie-land. Much of that credit goes to the performers.

"Clue" offers a nostalgia trip for those who have long played the board game or who liked the movie. As it stirs memories and creates new ones, the show rewrites a line from Hamlet's father's ghost.

Murder most howl.


Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat., 1 & 6:30 p.m. Sun.

Tickets: $39-$109.