Sunday, July 14

Cluedo2 – Hull New Theatre

When a publicity blurb for a theatre production informs us we will “laugh ’til they die`”, it’s bound to pique the interest of theatregoers.

Those four words certainly got my attention, and I looked forward to watching Cluedo2 at the Hull New Theatre on Tuesday night.

But would I laugh ’til they die?

As we waited for curtain up we could admire the stage setting of a huge Cluedo board, at an angle, with the shape of the multi-windowed Graveny Manor in front.

A few minutes after 7.30pm the action started with the home’s owner, rock star Rick Black, inviting selected guests to listen to his latest album.

The married Rick (Liam Horrigan), he of the afro hair and dazzling white teeth (well, it is the swinging sixties), is a bundle of energy. You simply can’t ignore him.

His wife, the haughty the Honourable Emerald Peacock (Hannah Boyce) married him for his money and the lifestyle that afforded her. She sort of accepts his flirting, on this occasion with an interior designer he has hired, a Miss Annabel Scarlett (Ellie Leach), appropriately dressed in a scarlet dress.

Photo: Alastair Muir

Other guests include “Professor” Alex Plum (Edward Howells), Colonel Eugene Mustard (Jason Durr), and later on Wadsworth, the non-butler (Jack Bennett), the “Reverend” Hal Green (Gabriel Paul) and a film producer whose name I didn’t quite catch.

Add to that motley bunch the cook, Mrs White (Dawn Buckland) and we have all the ingredients for a right whodunnit.

Actually, unlike the board game (which originated in 1949), we don’t really have to guess too much who has done it, as the characters sort of admit their sins during their stay at Rick’s gaff.

And when poor PC Silver (Tiwai Muza) enters the mix, he really doesn’t have a clue how to handle the miscreants.

My favourite character on the night, Mrs White, knows all the secrets; for instance, that the “professor” is really Rick’s ex-roadie and the “reverend” his old song-writing partner.

Who the heck the “non-butler’ is is anyone’s guess.

As the bodies tumble, the scenery changes from Rick’s recording studio to a garden, to long corridors lined with “portraits”, Mrs White’s kitchen and the infamous Cluedo library.

Atmospheric drumbeats add to the tension.

I felt the first half of Cluedo2 never really got started. Was it first-night nerves, I wonder? I also felt some of the diction was not too clear at times.

As for the talented cast, Horrigan’s Rick was quite characterful, but how long did he last?

Bennett’s non-butler was very amusing throughout – well, for as long as he lasted (no spoiler here, it is a murder/mystery after all).

The best screamer on the night must go to Leach as Miss Scarlett. It was eardrum-piercing.

The most amusing character in my book was Mrs White, who reminded me of Julie Walters’ Mrs Overall. She also had the best lines, in my opinion.

As the night are on, secrets emerged and one really funny sequence had Boyce’s snooty lady of the manor, reveal her true background. I won’t let on where she originates from, but I didn’t understand a single word she spoke. Really funny.

I enjoyed the second half of Cluedo2 more, as events, and actors, seemed to liven up.

And I really couldn’t guess who the chief murderer was going to be. As events got more farcical, it could have been any of ‘em. Will you “laugh ’til they die?”. Buy a ticket and find out for yourself.

Running until Saturday, April 13th, 2024; 7.30pm nightly with 2.30pm matinees on Thursday 11th and Saturday 13th. Tickets cost from £17. Call (01482) 300306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk

Reviewer: Jackie Foottit

Reviewed: 9th April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
0Shares