Cluedo brings murder mystery to Mayflower
TAKE all the clichés of the murder-mystery genre, add to it a cast of characters familiar from a popular family board game, put it in the hands of Mark Bell, the director who brought us The Play That Goes Wrong, and you have the stage hit Cluedo.
In true Agatha Christie fashion, a group of disparate and seemingly unconnected characters is summoned to an old manor house. They know not why. Outside a storm rages, while inside the tension builds.
In charge of proceedings is an enigmatic butler, Wadsworth, who leads them on a tour of the mansion through doors that cleverly fold into different rooms – and possibly on a wild goose chase.
Jean-Luke Worrell as Wadsworth milks every inch of his long, lean and elastic frame to camp effect as he conducts their quest and raises more questions than he answers.
Cluedo is a new British play based on an American play that was adapted from the 1986 film Clue, which was inspired by Cluedo the game created by a Birmingham musician while bored during the Blitz.
All the game characters are there, including the not-so-dumb blonde Miss Scarlet (former EastEnder Michelle Collins) and Professor Plum (Daniel Casey – once Sergeant Troy of Midsomer Murders now himself a suspect).
Soon a body is found, only to disappear. There must be a murderer in the house.
Taking a leaf from the Scooby Doo handbook, they agree to split into pairs to try to find him – or her. And so ensues an impressive sequence of opening and closing doors that is almost balletic in character and precision.
The slapstick humour of the piece might not be to everyone’s taste but it delivered giggles galore at the Mayflower, Southampton, on Tuesday night – and it was impossible not to be impressed by the cast’s terrific timing.
At the end of the play, Wadsworth reviews the evening’s goings-on with a machine gun-paced monologue that thrilled the audience. If he didn’t commit the murders, he surely stole the show.
So did he do it? That would be telling. Runs until Saturday.
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