Writer: Sandy Rustin
Director: Mark Bell
Cluedo, the play of the film of the famous 1949 board game; whatever your introduction to Cluedo, you will know all about the characters, the drama, the intrigue, and the classic line of ‘Miss Scarlett, in the hall with the revolver!’
A performance like this is nothing without its cast, who must deliver memorable and intriguing characters that keep us entertained and enthralled throughout. The cast of Cluedo manages this and then some with exceptional performances across the entire ensemble. And even with a change in the cast with Harry Bradley replacing Daniel Casey as Professor Plum, the performance remains flawless. From Michelle Collins’ sultry and seductive Miss Scarlett to the quirky and over the top Judith Amsenga’s Mrs Peacock, there is something to love about them all. Harry Bradley performs admirably as the Professor and Liam Horrigan, who steps in to fill the shoes of the ensemble playing multiple roles throughout, looks like he was born for the role. Etisyai Philip is sophisticated and just the right amount of overdramatic as Mrs White, and a large amount of humour comes from Laura Kirman’s Yvette, the maid with an outlandishly phoney French accent.
But the true stars are the trio of Wesley Griffith, Tom Babbage, and Jean-Luke Worrell, who play Colonel Mustard, Reverend Green and Wadsworth the butler respective. Wesley Griffith is fantastic as the bumbling Colonel Mustard whose constant misunderstandings of both conversations and circumstances are a joy to watch. Tom Babbage uses all of his physical comedy experience to bring the clumsy and accident-prone Reverend Green to life, whether he is startled by thunder or hurting himself in some way it is a constant source of laughter. Finally, Jean-Luke Worrell may look on paper like a new performer but on this stage, he is a master of his craft. Wadsworth the butler is the standout performance, his comedic timing, physical presence, and often dead-pan delivery is captivating and all-consuming. His second act summary of the story so far is magnificent; with exaggerated movements and homemade sound effects, it is worthy of a standing ovation on its own.
Supporting the cast in this endeavour is a simple but effective set designed by David Farley. The set can be manipulated by the cast, opening it out to reveal the various rooms of the large English manor house that the play (and the game) is set in. And, surprisingly, these set changes that could become boring or annoying, are themselves a source of fun and humour as Jean-Luke Worrell opens and closes the rooms with a wide grin and exaggerated movements. Warren Letton’s lighting design is another factor in the success of the play: his subtle colour shifts and less than subtle fades to black add to the tension and intrigue of the performance.
The script, written by Sandy Rustin, needs to be highlighted: a wonderful mixture of tension and humour full of references to classic film and TV, and even a few jokes sprinkled in that allude to more modern problems and ideals. And the inclusion of Zeb Soanes as the voice on the radio giving context to the narrative really helps to ground the audience in the time and place of the play. Though some choices in the script feel laboured and more annoying than funny – like the repetition of words for comedic effect – it is overall a hilarious time spent questioning everything and trying to figure out the answer to the big question of whodunnit?
Cluedo is a hilarious, and exuberant farce that doesn’t try to present itself as high drama or theatre instead it leans into comedy and nonsense and delivers a joyous evening of entertainment.
Runs Until 4 June 2022 and on tour