Cluedo is a spoofy whodunnit that places all our favourite characters from the classic boardgame into one spooky old manor house for a mysterious dinner party. As the dead bodies pile up, the show takes the audience on a journey full of twists and turns to unmask the killer.
It has all the ingredients of a great comedy mystery – an interesting premise, a spooky setting and intriguing characters the audience is already probably familiar with. With Mark Bell directing and a cast packed full of The Play That Goes Wrong tour alumni, it stands to reason that Cluedo is going to be a raise the roof, laugh out loud riot from start to finish with plenty to keep you engrossed in the plot too.
The final section of the show (no spoilers) really pulls through to provide a satisfying conclusion, which is relieving as the rest of the play – particularly the first act – falls a bit short. I’ve not seen the film Clue, but it seems quite a lot of the clever plot is inspired by the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn. Sandy Rustin has written the stage version of Cluedo but I personally don’t find it too gripping until the comedy ramps up in the second act. It’s got the slapstick / wordplay / wit combo of Mischief Theatre but it falls a little flat in too many places to really keep momentum up though the cast do everything they can to bring energy, chaos and hilarity to the stage.
It’s practically a one-man show in places thanks to the exceptional Jean-Luke Worrell, who plays Wadsworth the butler. He’s creepy and intriguing in equal measure, extracting unexpected laughs throughout with his fantastic comedic timing and expressive acting.
Tom Babbage, who plays Reverend Green, will be a familiar face for those who’ve seen Mischief Theatre tours. He’s such a fab actor and is completely likeable in the role of the seemingly timid Reverend Green. It’s perhaps the most complex role to play but Babbage takes it on with aplomb.
Though the biggest names on the billing are Michelle Collins (Miss Scarlett) and Daniel Casey (Professor Plum), the stand-out stars of the show are perhaps lesser known and yet extraordinary comedic talents. I’m a full on fan of Mischief Theatre shows and it was so interesting to see so many stars of The Play That Goes Wrong, Mischief Movie Night, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and more appearing in Cluedo. In all honesty it feels a bit like the show’s material doesn’t quite give all of the cast the opportunity to showcase their talents but it’s clear every member of the cast are fantastically funny.
Cluedo was an unexpected treat and a great night out, keeping us grinning and guessing throughout.
Photograph credited to Craig Sugden