For Strictly Come Dancing champion Ellie Leach and former Casualty actor Jason Durr, the chance to play Miss Scarlett and Colonel Mustard in Cluedo 2 – The Next Chapter were roles they both simply couldn’t turn down. We caught up with them before their visit to Newcastle Theatre Royal later this month…

Both actors admit they can’t wait to go on tour. “This is my first stage play and I am very excited to be playing Miss Scarlett, “says Ellie ahead of her stage debut. “It is nerve-wracking as it’s something completely different to TV, but I really want to push myself out of my comfort zone. A year ago, I would never have expected Strictly, then the arena tour and now Cluedo 2 to happen. I am so grateful as Miss Scarlett is such an iconic character to play.”

Meanwhile Jason admits he has long harboured an ambition to return to his theatre roots, “I have done an enormous amount of television but there is nothing quite like performing in front of a live audience and making people laugh. When I read the scripts for the first time, I was in a quiet coach on a train and I started hooting with laughter! A lady told me to be quiet, but I couldn’t help but laugh throughout. It’s going to be phenomenal to bring comedy and a classic whodunnit to the stage where the audience get to be the detective.”

The two are starring in the world premiere of Cluedo 2, a stage show based on the classic Hasbro boardgame. Written by BAFTA Award winning Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (who wrote TV hits including Birds of a Feather and the stage hit Dreamboats and Petticoats) and directed by the award-winning Mark Bell.

As the actors go on to explain, both their roles have been cleverly reinvented to fit in with the new setting of the play in the rock and roll era of the 1960s – something they are both hugely excited by. “At first, Miss Scarlet seems like butter won’t melt,” reveals Ellie. “She is an interior designer and she seems very unassuming. But as the play develops, well…. people may not be quite what they seem. Cluedo is, after all, a thriller and murder mystery game!”

Like Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard is also hiding secrets, Jason explains, “We are going to be reinventing the narrative,” says the actor. “Rick Black is a rock star in the play and Mustard is his manager. Like Elvis had the Colonel, this chap has Mustard! He thinks he knows everything, but he doesn’t really.”

The cast also get the chance to work alongside the show’s critically acclaimed director Mark Bell, who as well as Cluedo 2, is behind the global hit, The Play That Goes Wrong. “Mark is the master of mishap and mayhem and he has his finger on the pulse. This is the perfect tonic we need right now in the world we are living in.” enthuses Jason.

Smiling, Mark insists it’s the play’s writers, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, who should win all the praise. “I am a minor Viscount compared to their Highnesses,” he jokes before adding: “They are royalty and as soon as I met them, we hit it off. It’s a privilege to be working with them and this great new cast.”

Determined to throw everything into the new production, all three are working hard behind the scenes to make sure it’s a success. Jason says he hopes to be sure to steady his stage nerves whilst Ellie is drawing from her experience performing in front of thousands on Strictly.

For Mark, “Putting on a comedy is far harder than a straight play because the comic timings have to look effortless. The jokes won’t work otherwise. I never get bored of telling stories and structuring jokes so you get laughter. Shared laughter is so important.”

For all three, touring around the UK can be tough but each are making sure to balance family life and other work commitments. With other projects also on the go, Mark explains he tries to visit different cities hosting the play every fortnight whilst both Ellie and Jason reveal they are planning to bring their families along to watch. “It’s never great leaving home but you make it work,” admits Jason. “My wife and children will definitely be coming to watch. It will be a chance for us to have a giggle. I think I look rather fetching in yellow!”

“My family can’t wait to come and watch me in this show. I was known for many years as Faye Windass but now it’s going to be great to transform myself into a new character. I love how Cluedo 2 is perfect for everyone in the family.” adds Ellie.

As for what the audience can expect when they watch the new stage version, Mark smiles as he teases: “Cluedo 2 is a really great whodunnit. It’s fast paced, high energy with lots of verbal and visual jokes. This is one for all the family – everyone is going to come out smiling!”

Cluedo 2 plays Newcastle Theatre Royal Tue 28 May – Sat 1 Jun. Tickets can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

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