KING’S THEATRE, EDINBURGH – UNTIL 14th MAY 2022
REVIEWED BY RACHEL FARRIER
The scene is set for this production of Cluedo before the play has even begun – as they take their seats, the audience is eased into the ambience of a country house in the late 1940s by a large wireless set on stage in the ‘hall’, broadcasting the ‘Light Programme’ and news of the era. On one level, the whole of this production is one long cliche of extended slapstick and innuendo, but in the hands of this cast this actually works brilliantly to provide an evening of often-hilarious entertainment.
We are presented with the familiar characters from the board game Cluedo, who are actually individuals who have some connection to the world of Westminster and have been invited to a ‘party’ (really an extended blackmailing ploy) with the instruction to play the parts of Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlet and co.. They are ‘hosted’ by Wadworth, who appears to be the attentive butler, although all is not as it seems on that point…
The caricatured and hammed up performances of each cast member are played just right – managing to avoid becoming irritating, instead they each remain amusing and carry the audience along with the playful and increasingly riotous action.
Holding the show together is Jean-Luke Worrell who plays Wadsworth the Butler with impeccable comedic timing coupled with exceptional physical comedy throughout.
Tom Babbage as Reverend Green was perfectly hapless and naive, and Michelle Collins hams up the classic female fatale of Miss Scarlett superbly. Harry Bradley (‘ensemble man’) deserves a special mention for the manner in which he dealt with the clearly accidental loss of his moustache, which shot from his face whilst he was delivering his lines as a police officer. The audience were already warmed up and laughing aplenty, but this really brought the house down. Etisyai Philip as Mrs White is delightfully imperious, and Laura Kirkham as the not-French maid Yvette is fabulous.
As the number of dead bodies ratchets up and the characters become increasingly paranoid about one another, the action and energy on stage becomes increasingly frantic and slapstick abounds, with the cast chasing one another from room to room. The set is brilliantly designed so that rooms are pulled out of from the side of the ‘hall’ as required, so this element of Cluedo is not lost – the library, lounge, kitchen, study, conservatory and billiard room and dining room all make appearances and the frantic running between rooms towards the end had the audience almost rolling in the aisles.
This is a light-hearted and very funny production, which does not take itself too seriously and keeps the audience engaged with its energy and humour. A surprisingly fun night out.