Who Dunnit? Was it Miss Scarlet in the dining room with the lead pipe, or was it Colonel Mustard with the rope in the billiard room? Of course I am not going to tell you.
This is the UK premiere production of Cluedo, directed by Mark Bell – it is a new British play, based on an American play, based on an American Film, based on a British board game and yes it’s a comedy farce!
Set in 1949 in an old country manor house during the time of the Lynskey Tribunal investigating government corruption, which only opens the doors for several digs linking to modern day which the audience appreciated. There is 40s music as the audience takes their seats which gets us in the overall mode of Britishness of this time, and this type of Britishness is ripe for the comedy farce shenanigans which are about to unfold.
We have 6 colourful invited dinner guests to Boddy Manor, none of whom know why they have been invited. The butler, the maid and the cook, look after the guests during dinner, then they demand to know what’s going on and why they have been invited. Mr Boddy appears and reveals to the group they are all currently being blackmailed for different secret conducts, which are now no longer secret! Their only way out is to kill the blackmailer and maybe even kill those who know their secret. He gives them each a box and inside is a weapon.
It’s a simple story line, and one which we all know, however the fun and hilarity that ensures as the group are searching the house for a possible additional perpetrator, finding secret passageways as the body count rises. There is plenty of physical comedy, dark humour, slapstick, sarcasm and an overall fun performance as every space on the stage is used.
The set is very creative, after all how do you portray so many rooms on stage? Well, the creative team have certainly done well. The doors to each room are used with comical effect, especially when a character goes in one and comes out another, but each door has a section of the wall as a pull out into the stage this creates the space of the kitchen, the study, the library and so on. It worked very well visually.
There were fun elements throughout, even Mrs Peacock enjoying her soup at dinner created laughter, it was quite laugh a minute as the comedy was throughout. Even the random items worked well, such as Wadsworth taking far too long to leave a room, the slow motion section, the secret panel in the library, all the little nuances of comedy were executed perfectly – maybe the word ‘executed’ is not the word to use for a play with multiple murders!
Things start get to get worrisome for the guests and everyone is paranoid as to who will be the next victim, however the butler takes pause and summarises where we all are in 3 minutes – a brilliant performance by Jean-Luke Worrell
Towards the end as the plot thickens and we might find out who actually ‘dunnit’, the characters expertly take us through a few possibilities – just like a classic murder mystery – however they managed this in a very hilarious way, which kept the audience laughing and on the edge of our seats.
The full cast were all fabulously entertaining and highly professional, it was lovely to see Michelle Collins as Miss Scarlett on the stage.
This play is full of twists and turns, red herrings, hilarity and shenanigans and make a guess at the interval to see if you are right!!
This review first appeared on GrapevineLIVE
Norwich Theare Royal