Cambridge Arts Theatre

CLUEDO 2: THE NEXT CHAPTER at Cambridge Arts Theatre


“There’s much here that could be funny if only it were slicker, shorter and snappier.”

I must admit to not having seen the first Cluedo stage adaptation, but I am reassured that this second play is all new (writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran). I can confess to having spent many hours playing the legendary board game in my youth and thought myself an expert sleuth at the time (with rather a secret crush on Miss Scarlett). So I was delighted to see on entering the theatre, a beautifully designed set comprising a giant portrayal of the classic gameboard with a cartoonesque manor house superimposed upon it (designer David Farley).

There is nothing noir or sinister about this production, and nor should there be. We see a shady character lurking in the shadows on occasions but, otherwise, the gruesome nature of murder by whoever, wherever, with whatever is lighthearted. The characters are as cardboard cutout as they can be, resembling it too, as they often stand so statically (director Mark Bell). Nearly the whole ensemble overplay their roles, but the production lacks a twinkle in the eye or a knowing acknowledgement that this is what they are doing.

The plot, such as it is, sees 1960s rock superstar Rick Black (Liam Horrigan) assemble a group of people in his massive country manor house to assess the new album which is going to resuscitate his floundering career. A slow preamble lets us in on backstory amongst the gathering and we discover past and present liaisons, secret identities, and who might have it in for whom if pushed far enough. There could be a lot of fun to be had here but much of the narrative is too long and too slow. Running gags run on too far and the staging is often clumsy and ponderous. We are also witness to a most contrived and least convincing love scene.





The characters are, of course, dressed in their appropriate colours but not garishly so. Colonel Mustard could have been yellower, Professor Plum more purple. Miss Scarlett certainly looks the part in a bright red mini dress, and Mrs Peacock too in an elegant blue gown. Between scenes, quasi-balletic sequences see the group of suspects and soon-to-be victims move around the house often in effective slow motion (movement director Anna Healey). Windows, doors, and picture frames are flown in and out as the company explores the building from room to room.

Sadly, the ensemble isn’t as slick as it could be. Jason Durr as Colonel Mustard shouts in a broad southern states American accent that greatly affects the clarity of his diction. Ellie Leach (in her stage debut) as Miss Scarlett is competent enough but lacks nuance. Edward Howells as the non-professor Professor Plum does what he can with a character so weak that he can’t himself explain quite what he is doing there. However, Hannah Boyce as Mrs Peacock commands the stage and our attention, holding her character and accent throughout. Dawn Buckland gives the performance of the night as the down-to-earth Cook, Mrs White, who pops up in unexpected places suggesting she knows the secrets of the house’s hidden passages. Jack Bennett as the “I’m an actor, not a butler” butler Wadsworth carries a single joke and much of the weight of the physical comedy.

But the whole thing doesn’t quite hold together. There’s much here that could be funny if only it were slicker, shorter and snappier.

CLUEDO 2: THE NEXT CHAPTER at Cambridge Arts Theatre

Reviewed on 25th March 2024

by Phillip Money

Photography by Alastair Muir



UK tour of Cluedo 2 continues to July – click logo below for further info



Previously reviewed at this venue:

MOTHER GOOSE | ★★★★ | December 2023
FAITH HEALER | ★★★ | October 2023
A VOYAGE AROUND MY FATHER | ★★★ | October 2023
FRANKENSTEIN | ★★★★ | October 2023
THE HOMECOMING | ★★★★★ | April 2022
ANIMAL FARM | ★★★★ | February 2022
ALADDIN | ★★★★ | December 2021
THE GOOD LIFE | ★★ | November 2021
DIAL M FOR MURDER | ★★★ | October 2021



Click here to see our Recommended Shows page