Shropshire Star

Strictly winner Ellie set to take to Shrewsbury stage

We're not sure about the guilty party, yet, or the weapon used but surely the ballroom is a contender for the location of where the dastardly crime was committed in Cluedo 2 – The Next Chapter?

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Ellie Leach

Perhaps a case of murder on the dancefloor? After all, reigning Strictly champion and dancing queen Ellie Leach is among the stars of the show, arriving at Shrewsbury's Severn Theatre from April 23-27.

Ellie, of course, waltzed her way to victory with dance partner Vito Coppola to win the Glitterball Trophy in December, and is also known to millions of viewers as Faye Windass in Coronation Street, a part she played for 12 years.

Now she will make her stage acting debut as Miss Scarlett in the UK tour of Cluedo 2, joined by Jason Durr, who stars as Colonel Mustard.

Jason is well known for television roles such as David Hide in BBC One’s Casualty, a role he played for seven years from 2016, and policeman Mike Bradley from ITV’s Heartbeat.

Based on the classic Hasbro board game, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, the five-month UK tour marks the world premiere of Cluedo 2. It is written by BAFTA Award winning writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran and directed by the award-winning Mark Bell.

For Ellie and Jason it was a chance to star in a show they simply couldn’t turn down.

“This is my first stage play and I am very excited to be playing Miss Scarlett, “ said 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 Strictly arena tour and now Cluedo 2 happen. I am so grateful as Miss Scarlett is such an iconic character to play.”

Jason reflects: “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. I am looking forward to going back to my roots, acting on stage, and getting my funny bones going again in the form of this rip-roaring comedy.

"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.”

Both roles have been cleverly reinvented to fit in with the new setting of the play in the rock and roll 1960s – something they are both hugely excited by.

“At first, Miss Scarlett 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, afterall, a thriller and murder mystery game!”

Colonel Mustard is also hiding secrets and Jason adds: “We are going to be reinventing the narrative.

"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 what he is doing but he doesn’t really.”

The icing on the cake, admit Ellie and Jason, is the chance to work alongside the show’s critically acclaimed director Mark Bell, who is also the director behind the global hit, The Play That Goes Wrong.

“Mark is the past master at mishap and mayhem and he has his finger on the pulse," says Jason."This is the perfect tonic we need right now in the world we are living in.”

The Cluedo boardgame represents an iconic part of British heritage. Most of us have played it at some point.

And Jason actually took things a step further/

“This isn’t the first time I’ve played Colonel Mustard,” he jokes. “I used to play him and the game as a kid. I grew up in Hong Kong and the one game we loved was Cluedo. I’ve introduced it to my children now too.”

Ellie adds how she loves how unique the characters are.

“Everyone can define who all the characters are,” she continues. “They are very distinctive.”

Determined to throw everything into the new production, the pair are working hard behind the scenes to make sure it’s another huge success.

Jason hopes to be sure to steady his stage nerves whilst Ellie is drawing from her experience performing in front of thousands on her recent Strictly arena UK tour.

“All the cast have welcomed me with such open arms,” she says. “Thousands came to watch the Strictly tour and it did give me a sense of what it is like to perform in front of a live audience.

"It’s going to be also amazing to take on this new experience and do something different to TV, which is practically at the other end of the acting scale. Television is very naturalistic and on stage, everything happens a thousand times bigger. But that’s what is so exciting.

“My family can’t wait to come and watch me in this show," she adds."Obviously after going on tour with Strictly, I have now had experience of living out of a suitcase and what is great about this show is I am going to be going back to acting again.

"I was known for many years as Faye Windass and as amazing as that was, it was then nice for people to find out more about me and my personality on Strictly.

"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 and it is lovely how people really enjoy murder mysteries!"

The cast is completed by Jack Bennett (Wadsworth), Hannah Boyce (Mrs Peacock), Dawn Buckland (Mrs White), Liam Horrigan (Mr Black), Edward Howells (Professor Plum), Tiwai Muza (PC Silver) and Gabriel Paul (Reverend Green).

Set and Costume Design is by David Farley, Lighting by Jason Taylor, Sound by Jon Fiber and Movement Direction by Anna Healey.

To pick up tickets, visit

The show will also be in Birmingham at the Alexandra Theatre from July 23-27.

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