ReviewSouth East

Cluedo: Theatre Royal, Brighton

Reviewer: Simon Topping

Writer: Sandy Rustin, with additional material from Mark Bell

Based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn

Director: Mark Bell

Reviewer: Simon Topping

A wonderfully silly whodunit from the director of The Play that goes Wrong, has the Brighton audience in fits of laughter throughout.

Everyone knows the board game Cluedo, a murder has been committed and players have to collect clues until they eliminate enough people, murder weapons and rooms to deduce who committed the crime, where they did it and by what means. It’s a fiendishly simple concept with 324 possible outcomes.

The stage play is heavily based on the 1985 US film, Clue, written by Jonathan Lynn. Six blackmail victims are invited to an isolated mansion by a man who knows a dark secret from each of their pasts. On arrival, each is given a pseudonym drawn from Cluedo before being introduced to the blackmailer, Mr Body, by the butler, Wadsworth. Each is handed a weapon, at which point the lights are switched off and the blackmailer is killed. Can the guests uncover the murderer before they all become victims?

Large swathes of the script are kept closely faithful to the film but with references anglicised, such as all the guests having links to Westminster rather than Washington in the US version. The dialogue remains just as sharp and funny as it was in 1985 for the main.

The bulk of the cast are a joy to watch. Jean-Like Worrell as Wadsworth the butler is not only fabulously physical but proves wonderfully adept at wordplay. His scene at the denouement of the play reduces the crowd to tears of laughter. His performance is playful and well crafted.

Tom Babbage, as the Reverend Green, is an excellent clown. His pratfalls in a scene where he keeps walking into doors and apologising are a joy to behold. One very funny moment is captured as a chandelier falls on the Reverend and the crowd erupts into large howls of laughter.

Judith Amsenga also distinguishes herself as the dotty and hysterical Mrs Peacock.

The whole ensemble shines when moving or speaking as one, which happens several times throughout the piece. Comedy devices such as repeating names until they become funny, slow motion scenes and rewinds of the action are used to great effect and really hit the mark with the audience.

As the ragtag bunch of misfits search the house to find a killer they are interrupted several times by visitors from the outside, more deaths occur and the plot thickens, leading up to an amazingly silly conclusion.

Laura Kirman and the faux French maid gets lots of laughs in the piece as does when Harry Bradley loses his prop moustache. He makes the most of this malfunction to make some funny improvised jokes.

The stage production lacks the wonderful soundtrack the film has and in some areas of the performance it would have been nice to hear snippets of the themes of the filmic music come in, but, the set has been very creatively designed as is used and moved with a sense of great fun.

Cluedo is a delight to watch; funny farce from start to finish. with great dialogue and a marvellous array of physical comedy actors. Well worth a watch

Reviewed on 13th June. Runs to 18th June.

The Reviews Hub Score

Fabulous Farce

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