REVIEW: Cluedo, New Victoria Theatre

This riotous play based on the beloved board game has plenty to entertain those of all ages while on a quest to solve a murder or two.

Did you know that there are 324 possible outcomes for a typical game of Cluedo – which must have made it difficult to come up with a completely original ending for this play that very cleverly brings the game to life. But thankfully, with the help of a twist or two along the way – you are kept guessing until the very last moment.

Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlett, Reverend Green, Professor Plum, Mrs Peacock and Mrs White all turn up at Boddy House following a mysterious letter inviting them for dinner – which takes a deadly turn – leaving all of the characters wondering if they are going to be the next victim and with time not on their side – who is going to make it out alive? A tale of blackmail and murder – this is a really gleeful take on the game that will delight audiences of all ages.

It is an interesting thing to step into a theatre and feel as though you have stepped onto a 3D version of a board game that has many different rooms, weapons and motives for murder being uncovered and curiosity is immediately piqued. Thanks to the clever attention to detail – from the way that David Farley’s set cleverly unfolds to reveal many of the different rooms found in the game to the way in which lines like ‘it was the maid with the champagne’ are thrown casually in keeps the affectionate tribute to the game at the front of the audience’s mind. In particular, I loved the moments in which the characters are all dashing around exploring each room, replicating the sometimes chaotic way in which Cluedo is played or even the moment in which they are handed a ‘present’ from their host – which turns out to be a potential murder weapon each.

Directed by Mark Bell (The Play That Goes Wrong), the play and its characters are slightly over the top – but when it is clear that the cast and in turn the audience are having so much fun trying to solve the murder it doesn’t matter too much. There are moments (which given the length of the show could be shortened) in which it is in danger of lingering too long on certain events – such as Mrs White trying to revive Mrs Peacock for example – but for the most part the whole production has a lovely pace and energy about it that keeps the audience thoroughly engaged from start to finish.

The cast all give delightfully quirky performances of these characters – really capturing many of the different aspects of their backgrounds – with some surprising characteristics emerging along the way. Aside from the traditional characters, the actual story itself relies a lot on the butler Wadsworth – played with the right balance of being sinister but also charm by Jean-Luke Worrell that you are kept guessing as to what his true character is as he guides the guests around the house. Elsewhere, Wesley Griffith as Colonel Mustard provides plenty of comedy and is constantly enjoyable to watch – while Michelle Collins adds a sense of sophistication and intelligence to Miss Scarlett’s personality. But the whole cast work brilliantly together to ensure that all the characters remain at the centre of the story.

A delight to watch from start to finish – this really is an innovative way of bringing the classic board game to life and as mentioned earlier – perfect viewing no matter what your age!

By Emma Clarendon

Cluedo continues to play at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking until the 26th February before continuing to tour the UK.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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