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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



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Rehab the Musical

Rehab the Musical


Playground Theatre

REHAB THE MUSICAL at the Playground Theatre



Rehab the Musical

“the entertainment factor is what drives this show with its irresistible force”


Kid Pop (Jonny Labey) is a rock star; top of the game and at the height of fame. He has the whole world in his hands, yet he is in the firm clutches of his addiction to cocaine and alcohol. Inevitably he is up against an unsympathetic judge after the tabloids splash his drug habit on the front pages. Expecting a custodial sentence, he is instead sent into rehab for sixty days. Kid Pop cockily accepts this as a free holiday rather than the journey into the wilderness we follow him on. He is, of course, in denial. In control. The drugs are in control – but so is his pr man, Malcolm Stone (Keith Allen) whose hold over him proves to be almost as fatal as the narcotics. Labey and Allen are portraying vivid caricatures here, but the beauty of their performances lightens them into warm shades of humanity. A skill shared by the entire cast.

The story, to some degree, stems from songwriter Grant Black’s and Britpop poet Murray Lachlan’s personal battles with addiction and mental health. But far from preaching they have alchemised their experiences, along with writer Elliot Davis, into a shining gem of musical theatre. It has just the right balance of humour and pathos, shallowness and depth to appeal to the masses. Yes, the journey is a touch predictable, and the twists in the road clearly signposted, but the entertainment factor is what drives this show with its irresistible force.

Labey is enjoying every moment, barely able to contain his delight even in the darker moments. He has sixty days to recover in ‘The Glade’; the rehabilitation centre populated with his fellow addicts. Depicted as misfits they resemble everyman – perhaps a symbol of the ubiquity of addiction. The velvet voiced Phil Sealey is poignantly magnificent as over-eater Phil while Annabel Giles hilariously recounts the past shenanigans of sex-addict Jane Killy (numerous name-drops of real-life celebrities will surely have lawyers working overtime!). ‘The Glade’ even houses a tanning addict. “Yes – it’s a thing” deadpans John Barr in a glorious turn as Barry Bronze, forever showing polaroids of his orange skin from past holidays.

While Kid Pop counts his days in rehab, Malcolm Stone desperately and ruthlessly tries to keep his protégé in the headlines and his name alive (if not the client). Obsessive, corrupt and foul, Allen amazingly renders him likeable. Jodie Steele gives a star turn as sidekick Beth Boscombe, hard as steel (no pun intended) but with a heart, and voice, of gold. The show stealer, though, is Gloria Onitiri as Lucy Blake, sent into ‘The Glade’ by Stone to spy on Kid Pop. Onitiri’s presence and outstanding vocals are as dangerously intoxicating as the subject matter.

The writers have put together a wonderfully strong piece of theatre. It shuns digging deep into the nature of addiction, but it never belittles it. The abundant humour never mocks these characters – there is too much affection and care in the writing. But let us not forget that this is a musical. And the score is exceptional. From stadium rock to cheesy-pop; power ballads alternate with rousing ensemble pieces. Duets and solos tug our hearts in all directions possible. All pulsing with wonderfully clever and emotive lyrics, and swaying to the rhythms of Gary Lloyd’s sharp choreography.

“Rehab” comes with a message but is so beautifully dressed up in song and dance we soak it up without realising what we are learning. We are just swept along on the highs and lows of a truly addictive performance.



Reviewed on 7th September 2022

by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Mark Senior



Top show reviews from August 2022:


Monster | ★★★★★ | Park Theatre | August 2022
Cruise | ★★★★★ | Apollo Theatre | August 2022
Diva: Live From Hell | ★★★★★ | The Turbine Theatre | August 2022
Get Up Stand Up! | ★★★★ | Lyric Theatre | August 2022
Patience | ★★★★ | Wilton’s Music Hall | August 2022
Ride | ★★★★★ | Charing Cross Theatre | August 2022


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