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Cluedo: fast-paced murderous fun

The setting is a country manor house outside London on a stormy night in 1949. A series of guests arrive, not knowing why they’ve been invited. And then people start to get killed!

It’s the classic recipe for a murder mystery in the style of Agatha Christie, but this is Cluedo – based on the family-favourite board game, via the 1985 movie Clue – which opened at the New Theatre, Cardiff tonight (Monday 4 April)

The play is directed by Mark Bell, who gave us The Play That Goes Wrong and A Comedy About a Bank Robbery. And if you’ve seen those, you will know what to expect – fast-paced comedy with the emphasis more on laughs than plot.

Michelle Collins heads the cast as Miss Scarlett, and Daniel Casey (who investigated some daft murders in his time as Sgt Troy in TV’s Midsomer Murders) is also on hand as Professor Plum.

But the star of the show is surely Jean-Luke Worrell as Wadsworth, the butler – all arms and legs in a superb physical performance which delivers mystery, menace and merriment.

The cast is faultless – Tom Babbage throwing himself around in slapstick style as bumbling Reverend Green; Etisyai Philip as hard-hitting and much-widowed Mrs White; Wesley Griffith channelling his inner Leslie Phillips (Google him, kids) as Colonel Mustard; Judith Amsenga as no-nonsense Mrs Peacock; and Laura Kirman as Yvette, the maid who may or may not really be French (spoiler: she isn’t).

And there’s excellent support from Harry Bradley, Meg Travers, Georgia Bradley and Liam Horrigan.

It’s a brilliantly choreographed piece of comedy theatre, thanks to movement director, Anna Healey, superb timing by the actors, and an ingenious set by designer David Farley which lets us see into all those rooms from the game – there’s even the famous secret passage.

The murder weapons are familiar too – lead piping, candlestick, spanner, and the rest.

Cluedo is a fun night out, which had me chuckling almost solidly for two hours!

It plays at the New Theatre until Saturday. Tickets are available from the box office 0343 310 0041 or online.

Review by Andy Weltch

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