IT’S a stage show based on a movie based on a classic board game - and audiences are loving it.

For Michelle Collins, the star of Cluedo which is heading to The Lowry next week, the reasons are simple.

“It’s a comedy whodunnit and who doesn’t love a whodunnit? Who doesn’t love a comedy? In the current climate I’m not sure that people want heavy plays, they want a bit of escapism; they want laughter which is a huge tonic.

“I don’t think people are really sure what to expect which is quite nice. I think they’re expecting a normal kind of murder mystery, a bit like the Mousetrap or something but it’s nothing like that. It’s much quirkier and way out there. It’s very physical.


Michelle Collins appears in Cluedo at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre in May 2022 - CRAIG SUGDEN


“For us it’s fun to perform if a bit exhausting as there’s a lot of running around and lots of opening and closing doors.”

Michelle plays Miss Scarlett just one of the classic characters associated with the board game which has entertained generations.

“Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum - they’re all there,” laughed Michelle. “And we’ve got all the weapons too - Miss Scarlett has the candlestick of course.”

The assembled characters all gather after receiving mystery invitations to go to a remote country house. Once there, the guests start being murdered.

Cluedo is directed by Mark Bell, director of the award-winning The Play That Goes Wrong.


Michelle Collins and the cast of Cluedo (Picture: Craig Sugden)

Michelle Collins and the cast of Cluedo (Picture: Craig Sugden)


“It’s got that frenetic, farcical side to it,” said Michelle. “It is very very funny which appeals to a wide audience.”

As Miss Scarlett, Michelle is given licence to indulge in her inner vamp.

“It’s all very tongue in cheek,” she said. “In many ways she’s the central character and actually compared to the others she’s actually the sensible one. But she does have a dry sense of humour which is fun to play.

“I do vamp it up a bit, you have to don’t you? She’s Miss Scarlett after all.”

This is the first tour for the production which runs until July.

“When you do a new play you never really know how it’s going to be received until you take it in front of an audience,” said Michelle. “I think the timing really helped us as when we started out we were gradually coming out of lockdown and you could tell that people were loving being back in the theatre.

“Initially we had a few challenges to overcome due to Covid with people being ill and we were testing every day but we managed to get through that and now hopefully we have come out the other end.”

Cluedo is a big production.

“Oh the set is massive,” said Michelle. “We have something like 21 different doors which we always seem to be running through.”

The fast past of the production, which at times borders on a classic farce, has placed extra demands on the cast.

“In rehearsals we had a movement coach to work with which was a little out of my comfort zone but that’s good, you need to be challenged.”

Michelle is certainly not someone who shirks a challenge. It’s hard to believe that she’s 60 this year and has been working since she was 18.

“I just think that the hardest part of having a career is to stay in that career,” she said. “I’ve had my ups and downs like every other actor and I think particularly for women it’s harder but I’ve been doing this for a long time now and I think a lot of women my age would have given up by now.

“I’ve been acting since I was 18 and I’ve managed to make a living out of it. There are still lots of things I want to do. I’m still ambitious, I still have that drive in me and I still love doing it.”

Michelle will probably always be known for playing Cindy Beale in EastEnders although her CV is far more extensive.

“People do harp on about EastEnders so although I don’t particularly like it, I’ve got used to it. What can I do? I’ve done lots of other things. I did The Illustrated Mum (based on the Jacqueline Wilson children’s book) which won an Emmy and two Baftas but no-one ever mentions that.”

She also appeared on Coronation Street for three years and starred in Miss Marple.

Early in her career she was a member of the Wilsations, the backing group for pop star Mari Wilson, she of the beehive hair and hit singles such as Just What I Always Wanted.

“I’m so glad I got the opportunity to be in a band in the Eighties,” she said. “They were brilliant times; all that creativity around us.”

Having been involved in a long run with Cluedo, Michelle could be forgiven for taking it easy once the tour ends.

“I was hoping to have some time off,” she laughs, “but I’m now going straight into filming for a movie which was something I couldn’t turn down. Oh I’m also getting married in August so it’s going to be a busy time.”

Cluedo, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Monday, June 27 to Saturday, July 2. Details from