Review: Cluedo at the Norwich Theatre Royal

Michelle Collins (far left) stars as Miss Scarlett in Cluedo heading to Norwich Theatre Royal. 

Michelle Collins (far left) stars as Miss Scarlett in Cluedo at Norwich Theatre Royal.  - Credit: Supplied by Neil Reading PR

If you are going to adapt any board game into a stage play, Cluedo makes perfect sense. 

Think of it: a small but diverse cast of characters, a setting confined to a limited number of rooms and, at its heart, an intriguing mystery that everyone is eager to solve. 

Throw in a script that doesn't take itself too seriously and contains one potential laugh every 30 seconds and success seems elementary. 

Although Cluedo was devised in the 1940s by British board game designer Anthony Pratt, it was memorably brought to life on the other side of the Atlantic in the all-American 1985 film Clue. I remembered watching that movie years ago and so jumped at the chance to see how it had been adapted for the stage. 

The cast of Cluedo, which is heading to Norwich Theatre Royal this February.

The cast of Cluedo, which is playing at Norwich Theatre Royal this February. - Credit: Supplied by Neil Reading PR

Director Mark Bell has brought the story 'back home', moving the action to the Home Counties pile Boddy Manor, where six guests - all with something to hide - are presented with a deadly puzzle. 

Numbered among them are EastEnders stars Michelle Collins as the shameless Miss Scarlett and Daniel Casey as the know-it-all Professor Plum.

Along with Mrs White, Mrs Peacock and the rest, they are 'gifted' six items which look suspiciously like potential murder weapons - a revolver, lead pipe, piece of rope, candlestick, spanner, and a dagger.

Most Read

Each of the actors ably ham up their parts and the ensemble spirit is strong, but if there is a stand-out performance look no further than Jean-Luke Worrell as Wadsworth the butler. 

He leads the guests on a merry dance, always seeming to know more than he should as the laughs - and the bodies - start piling up. 

There's some outstanding slapstick including one scene where a chandelier falls in slow motion towards the hapless Tom Babbage as Reverend Green, which got an ovation from the audience.

But most of the jokes are one-liners and quickfire exchanges, many involving Wesley Griffith's Colonel Mustard, who turns 'getting the wrong end of the stick' into an occupational hazard. 

The players quickly build a strong rapport not just with each other but with those watching on, almost willing us to play along. And that's what makes Cluedo such brilliant nostalgic fun.

Runs until Saturday, February 12.