Cludeo 2 – the next chapter | National Tour | Review

Cluedo 2 – the next chapter

Theatre Royal Brighton

Tuesday March 19 – Saturday 23 March 2024

Written by Maurice Gran and Laurence Marks

Director: Mark Bell

This play is the second of what may, or may not, prove to be a series; the possibility is cleverly left open by naming the latest one as ‘Cluedo 2’, not an original title, but indicates that there may just be more to come. Now, I didn’t see the first Cluedo, and didn’t read up about this one, so that I would come to it with a completely fresh mind. As an unashamed devotee of the famous board game (and yes, I refused to play using anything other than the Miss Scarlett counter) I was kind of expecting a mix of Agatha Christie and Peter James. If you are too, prepare to be surprised!

In a nutshell, Cluedo 2 is rather ‘Acorn Antiques meets The 39 Steps’. It claims to be based on the Hasbro Board Game Cluedo (devised during WW2 I believe), and so it is, very very loosely, inasmuch as the characters all have the board game’s names, and the action takes place in a mansion with all the same rooms that the Cluedo game has. But that’s where the connection ends. This play is a brand new production, with different actors from the first – which is a comfort if you’ve not seen the original Cluedo play – and is firmly set in the 1960s. Stereotypical clothes and inferences abound, so if you’ve not lived through that era and a bit beyond, some of the references might go over your head, notably several about the singer Al Green, and lines from his songs …..

The action is fast paced with an amazing amount of scenery shifting – all done by the actors. I loved that. Somehow it all became part of the play itself, and was immensely cleverly manoeuvred Doors were wheeled on and off (representing the different rooms of the mansion) and characters disappeared and reappeared elsewhere as if by magic. The timing of each of the performers, as a composite ensemble, was perfect and they are all to be congratulated. As is the set designer (talented Mr David Farley) whose imagination in creating the whole effect was quite astonishing.

The story revolves around Rick Black, a washed-up rock star, suitably dressed in black leather trousers/T-shirt, with long hair, and a Mick Jagger-like delivery, who unlike Mr Black in the board game, who was very dead from the get-go, managed to build his part quite considerably. Convincingly played by Liam Horrigan – he played other parts too, so well done him – Rick was desperately trying to regain his legendary status. What followed was a couple of hours of – sometimes, not always – hilarious absurdity. Be aware, you have to forget about perilous situations and heavy accusations, the whole production is more farcical than murderous. I confess I wasn’t familiar with any of the actors, although I DO remember Ellie Leach (as Miss Scarlett) winning Strictly recently. She’s of Coronation Street fame and is finding her feet on the stage after 13 years in the soap. Liam Horrigan (as Rick Black et al) appeared in ‘The Play that Goes Wrong’ which was also directed by Mark Bell.

Standout performances for me were from the enigmatic, with a more than a touch of high comedy, Mrs White (wonderfully performed by Dawn Buckland; Gabriel Paul as the Reverend Hal Green (definitely not singing ‘Let’s Stay Together’!) and Jack Bennett as Wadsworth, the actor dressed as a butler, who never tired of repeating he was an ‘actor, NOT a butler’, even though I did, ever so slightly.

The writers, Maurice Gran and Laurence Marks are household names as writers of ‘Birds of a Feather’ and ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ amongst others, so you should expect to experience their usual high calibre work. You won’t be disappointed.

Whether I’d rush to see a ‘Cluedo 3’ if it follows, is a tad debatable, however, all in all, Cluedo 2 is a jolly romp of a play, with some really inventive stage techniques which keep the ‘plot’ moving along at an impressive pace, making for a fun and enjoyable night out at the theatre. And clearly all the actors had just as much fun as the audience!

2 hours 20minutes including interval.


Cluedo 2 is touring the UK and Ireland until 17th August 2024. Catch it in the South East at Theatre Royal Brighton until the 23rd March,

Reviewed by Gill Ranson

Photo: Alastair Muir