Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Monday 14th March 2022
Based on the film Clue, which of course was based on the board game of the same name, this hilarious adaptation reworks Jonathan Lynn’s screenplay for the stage. Sandy Rustin’s script anglicises the screenplay, retaining Lynn’s wit, wordplay, and snappy dialogue, adhering to the ludicrous plot and adding inventive theatricality to suit the new medium. Director Mark Bell ensures the cast is kept busy with comic business and general running around – the grotesque tableaux around the dining table, for example, or the slow-motion when a chandelier comes down…
A disparate bunch of strangers assembles at a country house on a stormy night. Events are orchestrated by Wadsworth, the butler, in a gem of a performance by Jean-Luc Worrel, who is cheerfully ominous, moving in measured strides. Never mind murder, he steals the show.
At this performance, the role of the maid Yvette, who keeps forgetting she’s supposed to be French, is played by Georgia Bradley, who is also consistently funny.
Leading the company is Michelle Collins in a drop-dead red dress as Miss Scarlet, but truly this is an ensemble piece, with everyone given the chance to shine. Wesley Griffith is a hoot as the nice-but-dim Colonel Mustard; Etisyai Phillips is great value as a strident Mrs White; Judith Amsenga is hugely enjoyable as the haughty but hypocritical Mrs Peacock; Daniel Casey makes a strong impression as the posturing Professor Plum; and I must make special mention of Tom Babbage in the role of Reverend Green for his physical comedy and general falling over.
David Farley’s ingenious set opens up to reveal the various rooms we expect to see from the board game. As the guests tear from room to room, they have to take the furniture with them, adding to the frenzy of activity. Thunder, lightning and musical stings punctuate the action, adding to the silliness.
It’s all completely daft and very, very funny, and it’s a joy to watch broad comedy so well performed, with exquisite timing from all and sundry. Not so much a murder-mystery as a well-oiled farce, Cluedo is a real scream.
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆