Cluedo 2 – the Next Chapter! Review

Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge – until Saturday 30th March 2024

Reviewed by Steph Lott


Following the success of Cluedo two years ago, murder is afoot once again at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. Maurice Gran and Laurence Marks have taken the classic Cluedo board game and given it a delightfully meta twist in their hilarious whodunit play “Cluedo 2- the Next Chapter“. It’s a riotous blend of slapstick humour, clever wordplay, and affectionate parody of murder mystery tropes.

The scene is set in the 1960s, in a different old house with a fresh set of secret passageways! The iconic Cluedo characters have reassembled for another evening of murder and mayhem.

At the centre of the zany proceedings is Wadsworth, the Butler (but I’m not a butler!) played with impeccable comic timing by Jack Bennett. Bennett shines in this role, deftly navigating the wordplay and physical humour with a master’s touch and his performance results in many of the play’s biggest laughs.

Dawn Buckland is equally brilliant as the sinister but wacky Mrs. White. Buckland’s masterful command of comedic delivery keeps the laughs rolling in scene after scene and cement her as an audience favourite.

The entire ensemble shines, with further standout performances from Jason Durr as the southern gentleman Colonel Mustard, and Ellie Leach as the vampish Miss Scarlett.

Director Mark Bell, who directed the first Cluedo play, deserves high praise for maintaining a breakneck stylish pace that never lets the energy lag. The play zips along with perfect comic timing, punctuated by split-second sight gags and impeccably choreographed physical comedy.

The ingenious set design by David Farley adds immeasurably to the fun. The constantly shifting floorplan keeps the audience guessing and adds to the meta-farcical nature of the proceedings.

While the plot itself is relatively straightforward (at least by Cluedo standards), the real joy lies in the archetypal characters’ irreverent awareness of their own contrived circumstances. Gran and Marks have crafted a smart, self-referential script that never takes itself too seriously, while still maintaining a genuine affection for the source material.

Although the premise of “Cluedo 2” may be familiar to fans of the original game, the play’s willingness to lean into the absurd and embrace its own silliness is what sets it apart. From the outrageous character quirks to the over-the-top revelations, the production revels in its own camp sensibilities, inviting the audience to suspend their disbelief and simply enjoy the ride.

In the end, “Cluedo 2” is a testament to the enduring appeal of the murder mystery genre, reimagined with a healthy dose of humour and a great cast. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the board game or simply in the mood for a delightfully absurd evening of theatre, this production is sure to leave you thoroughly entertained.