Edinburgh Fringe 2011
A musical inspired by the board game and presented Poot Productions for the Cabot Learning Foundation, Cluedo Murder at Tudor Hall delivers exactly what its name would suggest. A fun, ridiculous, melodic, murder mystery.
The design of this show was rough around the edges, but was at times intelligent. With simple black blocks depicting each of the locations, and a dining room complete with table, playing host to the scene including the full company. The costumes were as sensible as the score, with fluorescent hair colouring and flamboyant clothing, this is one student production which will certainly turn heads.
Predictably, the action begins with the murder of Doctor Black, and the arrival of Inspector Cluedo to investigate the crime scene. Whilst each character in questioned in private by the Inspector, private secrets come out (usually in song) and the mystery of Tudor Hall begins to unravel. Each musical number would appear to get more ridiculous than the last, and by the time the cast are mimicking those famous Jailbirds from Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago”, the murderer is certainly closer to being unmasked.
This committed young cast take on their roles and attack the material with energy and passion. They must be commended for their efforts in playing some of the most bizarre characters to be at this years festival. Vocally the cast all demonstrate a lot of potential, each of whom are given commendable opportunities to showcase their talents. For a cast made up of 16-18 year olds, this production certainly delivers to the best of its potential. At times the choreography seems a little too big for the space, and makes some numbers look a little cluttered, however that must be looked past as this rough and ready show is a great fun, Whodunit.
Fault could also be found in the lighting design, the overuse of the follow-spot at times made the aesthetic of the show a little bland a repetitive. Conceptually this decision made sense, as it allowed the action to be focused to the various locations with ease, however upon putting the show together, this amount of direct facelight became evidently distracting to the audience and cast alike. If however the technical design of the show was put together by young people of similar age to the cast, it is a solid attempt.
Cluedo: Murder at Tudor Hall is by no means a groundbreaking piece of musical theatre. It lacks both pace and at times the score holds up the action, however when taken purely on face value, the audience is gripped by the story, and much like the board game itself, we all want to find out “Whodunit”.