Credit: Tony Menias

One unspoken rule of improvisation is to never introduce a gun because the
presence of a weapon artificially heightens scenes to the point of making
them unrealistic. I’d argue murder falls into the same category as an
improv faux pas, seeing as it’s one of the most logical step after
pulling a handgun. It derails scenes otherwise focused on relationships by
raising questions about the plot: Who? Why? How? Naturally Clued In: An Improvised Murder Mystery includes at least one
murder by design, and it similarly kills momentum and drags out each plot
point.

The show is loosely structured. The group solicits an audience suggestion
and designates a particular cast member as the detective. On opening night
the show took place in a Kroger grocery store, and the improvisers took on
the roles of the manager, his assistant, a butcher, and some shoppers. A
few scenes in, the characters are witnesses to a dead body and blindly
finger each other as the culprit.

The cast of Clued In cites Agatha Christie novels as its
inspiration, though my mind leaps to Clue, specifically the 1985
film starring Tim Curry. Working within the same trappings (single
location, unraveling a murder mystery), the movie introduced a new detail
in every scene to arouse excitement and further the mystery. Clued In operates only at half speed: after the murder occurs, the
scenes oscillate between interrogations and brief interactions, with the
former as a device to rehash what happened in the latter. The slower the
mystery unravels, the less thrilling the solution.   v