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Review: Cluedo 2 @ Lyceum Theatre

Last May, the stage adaptation of Cluedo arrived at Sheffield Theatres – a deliberately silly whodunnit caper based on the iconic board game (which consequently inspired an American film, and then an American play). It was a self-aware, feelgood farce done, in my humble opinion, pretty darn well: shedloads of slapstick, an onslaught of well-delivered one-liners and, crucially, an engaging cast who brought their eccentric characters to life on stage.

A year later, Cluedo 2 picks up the mantle from its predecessor, moving the story on a couple of decades later to the swinging 60s. Our gaggle of oddballs all convene not at Boddy Manor, but at Graveney Manor, the home of of rock superstar Rick Black (played by Liam Horrigan with more than a few Russell Brand/Aldous Snow-esque flourishes and mannerisms thrown in).

Joining him for an eventful evening is his gold-digger wife Mrs Peacock (played in haughty fashion by Hannah Boyce), his larger-than-life Texan manager Colonel Mustard (Heartbeat’s Jason Durr), the more-than-meets-the-eye interior designer Miss Scarlett (Ellie Leach of Corrie and Strictly fame) and musician buddies Professor Plum (Edward Howells) and Reverend Green (Gabriel Paul).

Completing the main cast and, frankly, carrying much of the comedic load, is the actor (definitely not a real-life butler!) Wadsworth and  seasoned pot-stirrer (in more ways than one), the chef Mrs. White. Played respectively by Jack Bennett and Dawn Buckland, Wadsworth’s energetic exasperation and White’s devilish cunning are the highlights of a fairly mixed bag of performances ranging from commanding to quite forgettable.

After the first body appears,fingers begin to point. It isn’t long before the guests are scurrying around the beleaguered mansion – leading to some amusing and well-directed chase scenes – as they try to catch the perpetrator and save their own skin in the process.

It is more than passable entertainment if you’re looking for a daft murder mystery with some cheap laughs to shepherd it along, but it does feel like a step down in quality from its predecessor. The original play balanced silly jokes, over-the-top choreography and engaging storytelling quite well; however, Cluedo 2 often fails to hit the mark on any of these fronts.


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