Tag Archives: The Ladykillers

REVIEW: The Ladykillers – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

(I must confess that this review is, in some way influenced by the fact that I had the privilege of seeing this in its initial run at the Gielgud Theatre in London with a stellar cast including: Peter Capaldi, Ben Miller and James Fleet see here.)

Lovingly based on the classic Ealing Comedy, Graham Linehan has adapted this perfectly for the stage, maintaining the fun but with a sinister edge. The play opens on the modest exterior of a post-war London town house, which then lifts to reveal a fantastically intricate and eccentricly lop-sided (bomb damaged) interior. The set then continues to delight and surprise throughout the whole piece, almost starring as a character itself.

The deliciously dark comedy tells the tale of Mrs Wilberforce, who takes in a gang of robbers posing as a string quintet. It is a true ensemble piece and each actor is given their chance to shine: Michele Dotrice is the deliciously dotty Mrs Wilberforce. Dotrice’s performance deviates from the classic film and the London production where Marcia Warren took the role, in that it is rather less gentle and sweetly eccentric, rather more boom and bluster and she looks physically more than able to take on the gang.

Paul Brown plays ring leader Professor Marcus with the right balance of menace and gentlemanly manners, but his delivery seemed rushed at times. Former Eastender Shaun Williamson is cast as a Romanian gangster Louie with suitably dodgy accent, and copes competently enough but with little flair. However, Clive Mantle and Chris McCalphy as the Major and One Round are pitch perfect, but it’s William Troughton who steals the piece as pill-popping Harry, and who is on the receiving end of most of the slapstick gags.

The Ladykillers is an excellent realisation of the beloved film and is packed full of wonderful one-liners and visual gags. Catch it if you can – a perfect evening’s entertainment.

The show runs at Theatre Royal Glasgow until Saturday November 26, and tickets are available from here.

REVIEW: The Ladykillers – Gielgud Theatre London 4th April 2012

Many, including me have had doubts about the wisdom of turning the 1955 Ealing comedy The Ladykillers into   a stage show. The story of a “professor” of crime who masterminds a   daring robbery and uses the subsiding house of a sweet little old lady in   King’s Cross as the hideout for his villainous gang, all of them impersonating (badly) the members of a classical string quintet, isn’t just one of best Ealing   comedies, it is one of the most loved British films of all time.

But, amazingly, the show works and oh boy does it work, so much so that the tears of laughter running down my face were so bad that I had to reach for a hankie to mop them away. This is truly laugh out loud funny – and that’s rare thing to say. Just the sight of the crooked house   of innocent Mrs Wilberforce raised a round of applause from the audience. The set has been brilliantly designed by Michael Taylor and springs some   fantastic surprises in the course of the show.

This isn’t an exact re-telling of the film – that really couldn’t be done, instead, Graham Linehan’s new adaptation and Sean Foley’s inventive production is full of fantastic jokes and amazing physical comedy, but most amazingly of all, it still remains true to the charming spirit of the brilliant original.

The cast are truly stellar; Peter Capaldi, Ben Miller, James Fleet and Stephen Wight not only play their individual roles to perfection but also combine beautifully as a whole.This is a rare treat – just a perfection from start to finish.

It has also just been announced that it will tour the UK at the end of the year. I urge you to get tickets. This truly is a must-see.