Cluedo, the board game, was invented by a British musician and munitions factory worker during World War 2, and launched in 1949, since when there have been 29 special editions, an ITV gameshow, a movie and now a play, written by Sandy Rustin and based on Jonathan Lynn’s (Yes Minister) screenplay. Wisely this witty, unassuming, two hours of very pleasant ‘nonsense’ has been put into the imaginative hands of Mark Bell who was responsible for The Play That Goes Wrong, in which several of the cast have also appeared.
Bell wisely chooses to take the play at a terrifically energetic pace, encouraging all his actors into the style of late 1940s Britain. Their roles are two-dimensional and played with great gusto by all concerned. This is a true ensemble with no “stars”!
Having said that, Jean-Luke Worrell, as the butler Wadsworth (spoiler alert: or so we assume – believe nothing in this play!) holds everything together. He guides the plot through its various machinations, and has the required energy to drive everything forward relentlessly and with humour. His best moment is a superb monologue in Act Two.
Wesley Griffith excels as ‘stiff upper lip’ Colonel Mustard, Daniel Casey tries to differentiate the role of Professor Plum, mostly with the colour of his costume (David Farley) and Tom Babbage makes a truly hilarious, hapless, Reverend Green (spoiler alert: or is he?).
Others in the large cast (many play ‘bodies’ at various times!) include Michelle Collins as Miss Scarlet, Laura Kirman in the role of Yvette ( know someone just like this character!), Etisyai Philip as Mrs White in a very striking costume and Judith Armitage acting about four times her age as Mrs Peacock. I especially enjoyed Harry Bradley as a Police Constable: he made more than the most of this minor role, and was obviously enjoying himself, as was everyone on stage!
David Farley must be congratulated on designing a very original set which transforms into the various rooms of the house as must the lighting designer Warren Letton and the sound designer Jon Fiber for some thrilling thunderclaps. Michael Holland has provided some apt original music, taking us back into the 1940s.
This is obviously NOT a great play, but it is a most unusual piece, it is very amusing and makes for a great family evening at the theatre, especially when, as at ATG’s Theatre Royal Brighton, good seats are available from £13! I enjoyed it, and the audience did also, judging by the enthusiasm at the curtain call. Recommended!
Review by John Groves
When Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs Peacock, Reverend Green, Mrs. White and Colonel Mustard arrive at a country house one dark and stormy evening, they are surprised to find they have all received the same intriguing invitation from Lord Boddy. It soon becomes clear that they all have something to hide as the mystery and hysteria grows and the inhabitants and guests of Boddy Manor are killed off one by one, with a variety of familiar weapons, leaving everyone to wonder, who will be next!
The tour is produced by Josh Andrews and Stuart Galbraith of Kilimanjaro Theatricals, in collaboration with their US producing partners Work Light Productions, Lively McCabe Entertainment & The Araca Group.
Director: Mark Bell
Movement: Anna Healey
Set & Costume Designer: David Farley
Lighting Designer: Warren Letton
Sound Designer: Jon Fiber
Theatre Royal Brighton Mon 13 – Sat 22 Jun 2022
Theatre Royal Brighton
Mon 13 Jun – Sat 18 Jun 2022
W/C 20 June 2022 Malvern: Festival Theatre
W/C 26 June 2022 Salford: Lowry Theatre
Theatre Royal Glasgow
Mon 4 Jul – Sat 9 Jul 2022
W/C 11 July 2022 Wolverhampton: Grand Theatre
W/C 25 July 2022 Belfast: Grand Opera House