Cluedo Inc is an undeniably fun and well-executed interpretation of the classic board game
Director Jane Williams dreamed up the premise for Cluedo Inc for Some Like it Hot Theatre Company some fifteen years ago. Since its 2001 Edinburgh Fringe debut, the show has been performed in varying guises around the world. This year, this quintessentially British parlour game is being brought to life by a talented international cast and crew made up entirely of expatriates working or studying in Qatar in the Middle East.
The actors all deserve plaudits for their performances, imbuing their caricature characters with the right balance of humour and humanity. They are ably aided by Williams’ direction, which continually harks bark to the show’s origins. As the audience enters the auditorium, each character stands perched unmoving upon a block, labelled as one of the respective rooms of Tudor House. With their caricature poses and technicolor costumes, each actor perfectly resembles the figurines upon which they are based. Similarly, great care has also been taken to ensure the props resemble their board game counterparts.
The acting, singing, dancing and directing is consistently strong. There’s just one problem: I expected the concept of “Cluedo: the musical” to be laugh-out-loud hilarious, but Cluedo Inc is never quite as funny as the audience might expect or hope it to be. In fact, during the first half of the show in which the threat of the murderer looms large, the show is actually surprisingly serious and the dramatic songs are played straight, rather than for laughs.
The show does warms up and the humour does increase, even if never to the dizzying heights one might hope for. A surprise comic standout was Sebastian Delascasas as the anxious, jumpy Constable Brown. His facial expressions and reactions to the events around him were consistently amusing and I found myself rooting for him to survive as the murderous events unfurled.
The songs may not be especially memorable, the humour may not be hilarious, but Cluedo Inc is an undeniably fun and well-executed interpretation of the classic board game. This is not the funniest show you’ll see at the Fringe, nor is it necessarily trying to be, but it is a fun seventy minutes in the company of some talented actors who are clearly having a great time with their material.