Cluedo, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton - plenty of laughter but all a little lame

Cluedo, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until May 21.


There was plenty of laughter in the auditorium for this dose of hammed-up nonsense – and that’s a lovely sound to hear.

But maybe also a little baffling for some of us.

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Yes, there were some cracking lines and a fair bit of decent slapstick, but it’s difficult not to walk away feeling that far too much of the night was just a little lame.

The problem is the comparison. This is a new play, based on the classic detective board game loved by generations and the hit 1985 film Clue, but time and again you find yourself thinking how much it’s in the same territory as the vastly superior production The Play That Goes Wrong.

Look at the credits, and of course, the penny then drops: both plays share the same director, Mark Bell.

But even he must realise he’s flogging a rather ailing horse with this one – compared to the rampant thoroughbred that brought him his earlier success.

There’s no doubting the effort, though.

We are in the presence of game bunch of actors happy to send themselves up endlessly and also send up the whole thriller genre.

But it’s perfectly possible to over-spoof the spoof. There is just too much pointless repetition, too much mock-balletic slow-mo posturing and too much chasing in and out of doors.

The bodies pile up, but the entertainment doesn’t necessarily do the same.

However, pretty much everyone else seemed to love it; and that’s certainly the main thing. Meanwhile the rest of us will wander away feeling like we’ve been at someone else’s party.

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