The Ladykillers by Graham Linehan
Leicester Drama Society
The Little Theatre 9-14 November 2015
“implausibly preposterous tale”
A couple of years ago I saw the touring version of The Ladykillers at Leicester’s Curve and was very impressed with the staging, writing and acting. Leicester Drama Society’s production is equally as effective.
The set is outrageously unbelievable with a full three story house and every technical trick needed to tell this implausibly preposterous tale of a robbery gone wrong.
The story starts with the entrance of the most OTT pantomime villain in Martin Bell’s evil Professor Marcus, the ‘brains’ behind the bank job. Swooping around the auditorium like a predatory crow he swoops out just as angelic Mrs Wilberfoce, Angela Edwards ably channelling Michel Dotrice, totters around a similar path dispensing pleasantries to audience members before removing her hat and coat and tidying it away. Mrs W, a frequent reporter to the local constabulary, is wasting more police time with imaginings of Nazi war criminals running sweet shops in Kings Cross.
Then comes the arrival of Professor Marcus and his band of ne’er do wells who are to rent the old lady’s spare room for ‘band practice’. From then on this is farce at its best. Adapted from the Ealing Studios film by Father Ted’s Graham Linehan this a joyous homage to those old black and white Alec Guiness comedies.
The main cast of seven have impeccable timing both physically and verbally as mistakes are made and covered up, slapstick abounds. Trapped into giving an actual recital the tone deaf quartet end the first half in a raucous cacophony of strangled cat noises.
The second half, following on from exactly the closing point of the first half, gallops towards the actual robbery and the most imaginative and hilarious car chase you will see in a theatre! Anyone who has seen the film or the play will know that the second half is a long drawn out denouement whereby the villains get their just deserts. As the characters die off in ever more absurd and hilarious ways the deliciously and misleadingly dotty Mrs Wilberforce comes into her own.
The Ladykillers is on at The Little Theatre until Saturday 14th November. As the entire run is sold out the only chance of getting a seat is to call the box office on 0116 254 0472 and pray they have had a returned ticket.
First published in Western Gazette