Review: Cluedo, New Theatre, Cardiff

Thomas and Andy Howells visit Cardiff’s New Theatre and get caught up in the intrigue and hysteria of a new stage play version of the board game classic, Cluedo!

The board game Cluedo has delighted amateur sleuths for generations as to who committed murder in a variety of locations from the kitchen to the billiard room, with a choice of potential weapons including a dagger, a candlestick and a revolver. Among the suspects are Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs Peacock, Reverend Green, Mrs. White and Colonel Mustard.

The game has previously been adapted for screen by Jonathan Lynn and starring the enigmatic Tim Curry, however its latest incarnation is now a hilarious, fast-paced stage version, directed by The Play That Goes Wrong’s Mark Bell.

Jean-Luke Worrell delights as he gives an eccentric portrayal as Wordsworth in the UK Tour of Cluedo currently at Cardiff’s New Theatre.

Set in a country house one dark and stormy evening, sometime in the 1930s, the characters, all adopting the games recognisable pseudonyms, are surprised to find they have received the same mysterious invitation from Lord Boddy. All guests appear to have something to hide as tension and hysteria builds with visitors and inhabitants meeting  a variety of grisly demises around Boddy Manor.

The Cluedo set reflects its board game counterpart with rooms folding out to reveal desks, chairs, tables and secret passages aplenty, while there are plenty of familiar references to the game itself in the productions sharp, quick-witted script.

It doesn’t take long for the fun to get underway as we are introduced to Jean-Luke Worrell’s eccentric butler Wordsworth and Laura Kirman’s charismatic Cockney Sparrow come French maid Yvette. Both actors are a delight to watch throughout the production, adding wonderful comedic moments to the plays ongoing narrative that encourage regular spasms of laughter from the audience.

Then there are the guests and suspects themselves, all making a magnificent transition from board game to treading the boards. Michelle Collins brings mystery and allure to Miss Scarlett, while Daniel Casey adds a high level of pomposity and intrigue to Professor Plum. There are further funny and eccentric characterisations from Wesley Griffith (Colonel Mustard), Etisyai Philip (Mrs White) Judith Amsenga (Mrs Peacock) and Tom Babbage (Reverend Green).  

The ensemble cast’s ability to get the biggest laughs with over-animated slapstick sequences works to great effect from walking into doors to slow motion action sequences.

A theatrical experience that will still have you laughing after the curtain comes down, Cluedo is a loving parody of the board-game original and a must-see for theatregoers of all ages.  Cluedo continues at Cardiff’s New Theatre until April 9, 2022.

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