Cluedo at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review

Cluedo at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review


Posted 2022-05-04 by Andy Colemanfollow

Mon 02 May 2022 - Sat 07 May 2022

Cluedo has returned home to Birmingham for one week. Anthony Pratt was living in Kings Heath when he invented the board game which inspired the stage production that is playing at The Alexandra till May 7. The game now boasts 150 million sales and is regarded as a classic.

The play itself is based on the 1985 Hollywood movie, Clue, but its English roots have been restored for the stage. It's set in a country manor house, just outside London, on a dark and stormy evening in 1949. Six guests arrive – with their invitations stating they should adopt fake identities: Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Reverend Green, Mrs Peacock, Mrs White and Colonel Mustard. What follows is an evening of madcap murderous mayhem, with everyone invited to work out who killed who, in which room and with what weapon.

This is no straightforward whodunnit, however. The comedy comes thick and fast, and sometimes it's like watching elements of a Whitehall farce, with slamming doors and the cast chasing to and fro. Thankfully, there's some more sophisticated humour – Jonathan Lynn , of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister fame, wrote the film's screenplay and his skilful wordplay (which in the TV programmes was usually delivered by Nigel Hawthorne) is much in evidence. Jean-Luke Worrell as the butler, Wadsworth, received a much-deserved round of applause from the appreciative audience for one tongue-twisting monologue.

The hand of director Mark Bell can also be seen all over the production. He is best known for directing The Play That Goes Wrong, and the chaos that ensues in that award-winning comedy is echoed in Cluedo. The night I saw Cluedo something really did go wrong – a stick-on moustache came unstuck and ended up on the floor, but some quick-thinking ad-libs by Jean-Luke Worrell and Harry Bradley added to the fun. Coincidentally, The Play That Goes Wrong is at The Alexandra from May 16 till May 21.

The cast, headed by Eastenders' and Coronation Street's Michelle Collins and Midsomer Murders' Daniel Casey , have a whale of a time as they move from room to room on a set innovatively designed by David Farley. The audience can glimpse inside the lounge, the billiard room, the conservatory, the library and the kitchen, thanks to side partitions being opened and closed by the actors.

At 80 minutes, it's a short play and the second act, when all is revealed, seemed a little rushed. It's a complicated conclusion and I'm still trying to get my head around all the details. I think it's time to get Cluedo the board game out again!

Rating: & #9733 ;& #9733 ;& #9733 ;& #9734 ;& #9734 ;

#theatre -reviews
!date 02/05/2022 -- 07/05/2022
70671 - 2023-01-26 01:48:33


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