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Sarah Crown
Theatre Correspondent
6:50 AM 15th May 2024
arts

Cluedo 2 Still Keeps You Guessing

 
Edward Howells, Gabriel Paul, Dawn Buckland, Jason Durr, Ellie Leach, Hannah Boyce and Jack Bennett
Photo Credit: Alastair Muir
Edward Howells, Gabriel Paul, Dawn Buckland, Jason Durr, Ellie Leach, Hannah Boyce and Jack Bennett Photo Credit: Alastair Muir
I’m sure that everyone of certain age remembers Cluedo, the board game that kept families occupied for hours on end as they attempted to solve the murder mystery of ‘whodunit’. Based on the 1985 cult film Clue, Cluedo (1) was a great success when it hit the stage, so much so that a Cluedo 2 has now followed.

Written by BAFTA winners Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, and directed by Mark Bell, the director of the original Cluedo and The Play That Goes Wrong, Cluedo 2 aims to keep you guessing right up to the final twist of the tale.

The plot is relatively weak and is set in the swinging 60’s. Formerly a very successful rock star but whose popularity is now on the wane, Rick Black (Liam Horrigan) has invited to his country manor house a disparate group of friends and colleagues from the music industry to listen to his new album, in the hope that they will support him as he attempts to revive his flagging career. As you may expect the guests include all of the board game’s characters suitably dressed in the colours reflecting their names.

But a waning career is the least of our pop stars problems as it soon becomes clear that not all of the guests are singing from the same hymn sheet as he re his career revival plans. As the evening progresses we learn of secret identities and clandestine past and present liaisons all of whom have something to hide, or worse still, an axe to grind.

There is Mrs Peacock (Hannah Boyce) a rapacious wife, Miss Scarlett (Ellie Leach), an interior designer, coincidentally bearing a family resemblance to the former owners of Graveney Manor, the greedy manager Colonel Mustard (Jason Durr), Rev Green (Gabriel Paul) Black’s former song writing partner who was in the Vietnam war but who has now found religion and of course not forgetting Professor Plum (Edward Howells), Mrs White, the cook (Dawn Buckland), and Wadsworth (Jack Bennett) in the role of an actor / butler. The latter two having an impeccable sense of comic timing.

Edward Howells, Dawn Buckland, Ellie Leach, jack Bennett, Jason Durr, Hannah Joyce and Gabriel Paul
Photo Credit: Alastair Muir
Edward Howells, Dawn Buckland, Ellie Leach, jack Bennett, Jason Durr, Hannah Joyce and Gabriel Paul Photo Credit: Alastair Muir
Of interest and contrary to the swinging 60’s period in which the play is set, there is a feminist demand from Miss Scarlett that consideration be given to the possibility the murderer could be a female as well as male.

The imaginative set design by David Farley imitates the board game and immediately sets the atmosphere for what is to follow. As the drama unfolds the stage becomes an area where doors, tables, bookcases, and chairs are variously incorporated into the various iconic rooms of the game. Scene changes are managed by the cast in an exaggerated slow motion style, and the various plot developments are clearly discernible as the cast freeze in a shock or horror pose to await the audience reaction.

Whilst Act 1 was slow, the pace does quicken in Act 2. The script is littered with witty ‘one liners’ and great play is made of Colonel Mustard’s American accent and the inevitable misunderstandings of the various language idioms between the two countries.

Not quite a full house in Sheffield this evening, but the audience showed their appreciation in the usual manner throughout the performance. The play succeeds in that you would be hard pressed to identify the murderer until the very end but for me, the genre of the play is now becoming a little too well worn.

On at the Sheffield Lyceum Until 18th May