Cluedo 2: The Next Chapter – Review – Hull New Theatre

Cluedo 2 The Next Chapter Review Hull New Theatre

By Roger Crow, April 2024

In 1985, TV writing legends Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran created Roll Over Beethoven. That amiable tale of a rock star (Nigel Planer) moving into a quaint English village and his relationship with the local music teacher (Liza Goddard) was great entertainment, though after 13 episodes, the gag was over and that was that.

But a similar set-up is at the heart of their fun stage play Cluedo 2 – The Next Chapter. Yes, the board game which has been entertaining the masses since 1949, has already been turned into a movie. Clue (also 1985) exploited those well-worn characters like Col Mustard, Miss Scarlett and so on to fine effect.

And a hugely successful stage show based on the board game and that movie has warranted this sequel.

Cluedo 2 The Next Chapter Review Hull New Theatre

“A hoot”

So, a few months after seeing the film for the first time, I also celebrate my 33rd year as an adopted Yorkshireman with a trip to see Corrie/Strictly veteran Ellie Leach pull off the crime of the night – she steals the entire show from her likeable co-stars.

C2TNC, as nobody is calling it, centres on Rick Black, a former rock and roll legend who is now broke.

As he settles into his new, expensive home, Graveny Manor, Rick is desperate to revive his fading career and reclaim his fame and fortune.

Thrilled to reveal his long-awaited comeback album, Rick has assembled his supermodel wife, The Honourable Emerald Peacock; his manager, Colonel Eugene Mustard, long-time roadie “Professor” Alex Plum; Annabel Scarlett his trusted interior designer, and housekeeper Mrs White, who came with house and who knows all its secrets.

Ably helmed by Mark Bell – director of the original UK production of Cluedo, and sublime The Play That Goes Wrong, Cluedo 2 – The Next Chapter, is a hoot.

Cluedo 2 The Next Chapter Review Hull New Theatre

“Suspicion falls”

Colonel Mustard (Heartbeat veteran Jason Durr) obviously wears clothes of a similar hue to his character’s name; Miss Scarlett likewise. Subtle this isn’t, nor was it meant to be, but imagine a cross between the original Scooby-Doo with its sixties stylings, and Neil Simon’s classic genre spoof Murder By Death, and you get the idea. (And if you’ve never seen the latter, it is available online).

Anyway, when a key character is bumped off, suspicion falls on just about every person on stage, including the Reverend Hal Green. Yes, Hal, not Al, though that running gag is a lot of fun, if you know who Al Green is. (And if you don’t, put a little love in your heart by listening to ‘Let’s Stay Together’, and that will improve your life immediately).

There are assorted clever set changes as we move from room to room. The kitchen, the library and so on, with cast carrying framed pictures to give a sense of movement. And those beloved props, like the lead piping, are also woven into as many scenes as possible. If there was a slight problem it was the sound. Some of the cast don’t project enough, so the odd line gets lost, and by comparison the incidental music is way too loud, but I’m of an age where I think that about everything.

You don’t need to have played the game, seen the film, or the original show to enjoy this fun-packed diversion. I laughed out loud many times, which isn’t always a given with murder-mystery farces. Whether you’re a fan of lead piping or lead actors, this is a great way to kill a couple of hours.

Cluedo 2 – The Next Chapter runs at Hull New Theatre until 13th April


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