THE board game Cluedo is stellar source material for a farcical murder mystery, with the broad, colourful characters working equally well in the joyfully arch play showing at the Theatre Royal Brighton this week.

Set in the Home Counties in 1949, the show starts with some striking lightning, with the protagonists entering Body Manor, grateful for some shelter from an ominous thunderstorm.

Subtlety is not the name of the game here, with some dark pasts and mysterious grievances between the serving staff and main characters highlighted in fiery stares and loud, staccato music.

Director Mark Bell (of the Play That Goes Wrong fame) also provided additional material for this British version of an American play, based on an American film (1985’s Clue starring Tim Curry), based on a British board game.

The Argus: Michelle Collins stars as Miss Scarlett Michelle Collins stars as Miss Scarlett

Bell’s comedy chops impress throughout, with the quickfire gags often landing, a strong sense of movement (all flailing limbs and arched eyebrows) and a clearheaded sense of comic timing, giving awkward moments and freeze frames space to breathe, and time to hit home properly.

There was also some funny, absurd repetition of dialogue in some key moments... but I won’t spoil the mystery here.

Wesley Griffith was good fun as a mightily moustachioed, nice-but-dim posh boy (Colonel Mustard), while Etisyai Philip’s Mrs White performed with sharp comic timing, and confident silliness.

The Argus: The play is showing at the Theatre RoyalThe play is showing at the Theatre Royal

But it was Jean-Luke Worrell’s disturbingly obsequious manservant who stole the show.

His balletic butler was always the centre of attention, whether he be prancing about the stage, sneaking about distrustfully among the visitors, or delivering stunningly flamboyant monologues.

The refreshingly short runtime of the play (about one hour 50 minutes including interval) ensured it didn’t stretch its focused, twisty plot and larger-than-life characters out unnecessarily. An exciting opportunity to catch some high-quality theatre, Cluedo is a delightfully gleeful, hilarious, family-friendly comedy.