Though not entirely original, Cluedo promised and delivered a night of fun
Cluedo is currently playing at the Mayflower Theatre. While not entirely a new concept (noted as “a new British play, based on an American play, based on an American film, based on a British board game”), Cluedo promises a night of humour and mystery and, most importantly, a buffet of cheese and ham.
Greeted by Jean-Luke Worrell as Wadsworth the Butler, we are invited into the past and into an extravagant English country mansion. Personally, I know nothing about the Sir George Lynskey drama of the late 1940s, so I did feel like I was left out a little bit of the context. The little I did learn was from the programme, which included lots of interesting articles about the history of the game and its productions. The set was perfectly placed, with moveable doorways to take us into different rooms, allowing for extra comedy and swiftness.
Worrell succeeded throughout as our narrator and tour guide, and utilised every moment for stealing a laugh. His performance reminded me of another famous Clue face – that of Tim Curry – and he was able to carry along the audience at points where it otherwise would have felt a bit stinted. The rest of the cast worked spectacularly together. Though seemingly a collection of ‘main characters’, the group worked well as an altogether ensemble cast, heightening and lightening each other’s performance. With a play that’s success is dependent on perfect timing, the cast did not fail once. Each moment of speech and turn of the head was perfectly in sync, and never dropped the comedy ball as there was always something nuanced happening at every moment. Although pitted against each other, the characters on stage maintained a warm chemistry exemplified during the hilarious blunder that saw the cheeky Bobby drop his moustache. The moment was handled brilliantly with the same comedy and cheese that treated us throughout the performance.
It is always a treat to see people from the TV on stage, and Mayflower has once again presented a moment of star-studdedness for a British audience. Miss Scarlett is played by Michelle Collins (AKA Stella from Coronation Street) and Professor Plum is Daniel Casey (AKA original sidekick Sgt Troy from Midsummer Murders). My mom was really quite jealous.
The story itself was not something that I hadn’t really seen before, though it is difficult to create a whodunnit? where the answer is not already obvious to somebody else. If your interest lies in mystery rather than comedy, this version of Cluedo is probably not the one for you. However, if you love seemingly random murders and the overenthusiastic and overused gasps of a classic British comedy, then I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Cluedo is playing at the Mayflower Theatre 17-21st May. Tickets are available here.