Theatre Review: CLUEDO 2 – The Lowry, Salford

The cast of CLUEDO 2 UK Tour. Photo Credit: Alastair Muir

CLUEDO 2 offers a fresh twist on the classic whodunnit, blending farce with mystery to great effect.

3 out of 5 stars

The much-anticipated return of the beloved whodunnit play, CLUEDO, graces the stage in 2024 with its sequel, CLUEDO 2, bringing with it a refreshing twist on the original formula.

Set in the swinging 1960s, CLUEDO 2 centres on Rick Black, a fading rock star, who invites a vibrant mix of guests to his mansion, hoping to revive his career. The guests include Miss Scarlet, an interior designer played by Ellie Leach; Colonel Mustard, Black’s manager portrayed by Jason Durr; and several others, each bringing their own twist to the story. The plot thickens as it becomes evident that not everyone is in tune with Black’s comeback plan.

With its jigsaw-style framing, David Farley’s ingenious set design mimics the classic board game and instantly sets the tone for the evening. The stage transforms into a dynamic and interactive space where doors, bookcases, tables, and chairs unfold into the different iconic rooms of the iconic board game, adding immeasurably to the fun.

The cast of CLUEDO 2 UK Tour. Photo Credit: Alastair Muir

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran’s plot is relatively straightforward and unapologetically farcical. Expect slapstick, split-second sight gags, physical comedy and a smart, self-referential script that never takes itself too seriously.

CORONATION STREET and STRICTLY COME DANCING champion Ellie Leach delivers a commendable performance as Miss Scarlet in her stage debut. West End and TV star Jason Durr’s version of American Colonel Mustard is also highly entertaining, even if his accent is a little garbled and over-the-top.

However, Dawn Buckland’s performance as Mrs White and Jack Bennett’s Butler Wadsworth steal the show thanks to their impeccable timing and expressive physicality, anchoring the play’s humour and contributing to its fun and silliness.

The cast of CLUEDO 2 UK Tour. Photo Credit: Alastair Muir

Despite its strengths, CLUEDO 2 is not without its challenges. At times, the play appears at odds with itself, struggling to balance the deliberate pacing of Marks and Gran’s humour with Director Mark Bell’s preference for rapid-fire delivery.

This tension is most palpable in the first act, which takes its time introducing the characters and setting up the plot before giving way to a more frenetically paced and riotously funny second act. Here, the play hits its stride, with the chaos masterfully choreographed by Movement Coordinator Anna Healey, who does a wonderful job with the group and the montage scenes.

CLUEDO 2 also lives up to its promise of keeping you guessing until the final twist, demonstrating the enduring appeal of the murder mystery genre.

CLUEDO 2 runs at The Lowry, Salford, until 6 April 2024.