Original Screenplay: Jonathan Lynn
Writer: Sandy Rustin
Director: Mark Bell
One dark stormy evening in 1949, 6 distinguished guests, all with a story to tell, gather for dinner. The premise, it’s characters and the idea we all know too well – but, as the drama plays out, so does the age—old question- Was it Mrs Peacock in the study with the revolver? Or perhaps it was Colonel Mustard in the billiard room with the lead pipe? As the play unfolds, we discover that each colourful character could have a motive for murder.
Fans of the franchise will no doubt be excited by this classic whodunnit played out on stage on its current UK tour. Those au fait with the 1985 movie (Clue), will notice that most of dialogue is taken from that: the setting moved from New England, just outside of Washington, to the quintessential hills of old blighty. Simply staged and with just the right amount of charm, each player brings a certain nostalgic warmth to their infamous parts. Directed by Mark Bell, of The Play That Goes Wrong fame, it is a sincere and stylish retelling with all of the necessary farcical elements one would expect. The action takes place in Body Manor, a country house not too far from London.
When Cluedo works, it is brilliant, but it quite often falls flat. What is lacking is pace, partly due to the stage design which quite often slows down the action. Some of the comedy also fails to land. One would have liked the creative team to play around with a more original idea than that of the film. As brilliant as the movie is some of the comedy doesn’t quite translate to the stage, especially given its new setting.
All of the actors are skilled enough in bringing just the right amount of energy to the play but the many pacing issues and questionable creative choices prevent some of the comedy to land. It would be remiss to single out individual performances.
Cluedo is entertaining, there are laughs-a-plenty and moments of absolute brilliance. The production, quite often uneven and slow in places, is still worth a watch. One just wonders if it was worth the wait.
Will the new play Cluedo stand the test of time? The clues are there, go see for yourself.