Thank you to the New Theatre Cardiff for providing us with review tickets for Cluedo
“Hilarious and dramatic” are the two words my eight year old used to describe Cluedo, currently at the New Theatre, Cardiff until Saturday as part of its UK tour. And in fairness, I think he just about sums it up.
Cluedo – the stage play based on the 1985 cult film Clue which itself is based on the famous board game – had both of us laughing out loud as we tried to figure out who did it, in what room and with what weapon.
The play has an age guidance of 8+ but we saw very few children when we arrived last night so I did have a momentary panic as to whether it would be suitable for my son. I needn’t have worried though – there were a few references and inuendo that went straight over his head, but he thought the play was brilliant. He laughed so much throughout, had no trouble following the plot and enjoyed trying to figure out who the murderer was.
Set in the Home Counties in 1949, the action takes place in the grand Boddy Manor on a dark and stormy night. All the familiar characters from the game – Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Reverend Green, Miss Peacock and Mrs White – have received a mysterious invite to a dinner party. It soon becomes clear that they all have secrets to hide and when a dead body is found, everyone is under suspicion.
Michelle Collins, of EastEnders and Coronation Street fame, heads the cast as Miss Scarlett, but it’s a real ensemble piece with strong performances all round. Daniel Casey as Professor Plum, Wesley Griffith as Colonel Mustard, Etisyai Philip as Mrs White, Judith Amsenga as Mrs Peacock, and Tom Babbage as Reverend Green are joined by two of my favourite characters, Jean-Luke Worrell as the ever-present and slightly eccentric butler Wadsworth and Laura Kirman as the (not really French) French maid Yvette, with Meg Travers and Harry Bradley playing various other smaller parts.
Direction comes from Mark Bell – famous for the award-winning and brilliantly funny The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery – who provides plenty of the slapstick humour we’ve come to expect from him. Along with Anna Healey as movement director, they have created a production that is so slickly choreographed. One can only imagine the work it took in perfecting the scenes where all the characters are running in and out of the various doors on the sides of the stage, each appearing and disappearing with precision timing. Credit for this must also go to David Farley’s clever set, which also allows the famous rooms from the game to appear.
For families with older children, Cluedo is a fun, nostalgic and entertaining production that will keep you guessing right until the end. Expect mystery, mayhem and of course murder in this brilliant homage to a game that has been enjoyed by generations for more than eighty years.
Cluedo is at New Theatre, Cardiff until Saturday 9 April with tickets still available for all performances. See the New Theatre website for more information or to book online.