Writer: Graham Lineham
Director: Sean Foley
Reviewer: Sarah Louise Forrester
The Public Reviews Rating:
Knowing that the stage adaptation of The Ladykillers was written by Graham Linehan (the wit behind Father Ted) I had high expectations that did not disappoint. Under the direction of Sean Foley the cast performed the play with the appearance of effortless enthusiasm. The comedic timing was absolutely perfect with some hilarious one liners and innuendos filling the theatre with laughter.
The play is set in a quirky tumbledown house next to Kings Cross station – Mrs Wilberforce (Michele Dotrice) has a guest house with only a sick parrot for company and Professor Marcus (Paul Bown) feigns that he wishes to rent a room as a lodger.
Mrs Wilberforce is well known to the police and they tend to disbelieve her regular complaints.
Mrs Wilberforce unwittingly agrees to allow Professor Marcus to rehearse his string quartet in her house, not knowing that he is in fact a rogue and they are organising a robbery – thinking that she is lucky enough to have talented musicians under her roof, Mrs Wilberforce arranges for the men to give a concert at her house and what transpires is a very funny farce where each of the cast have their time to shine.
Clive Mantle as Major Courtney provides the majority of laughs due to his inclination to enjoy dressing up in womens clothing. Other hilarious moments were provided by William Troughton as Harry Robinson – his portrayal of the pill popping loveable rogue with a cleaning obsession is truly marvellous and very entertaining. Other memorable performances are Shaun Williamson as Louis – a Romanian who is uncomfortable in the company of Mrs Wilberforce because he “hates old ladies” and Chris McCalphy, a superb bungling burglar who always manages to say the wrong thing. Michelle Dotrice gave a notably pleasing performance – Sarah Bird has provided an excellent cast who work well together and have great chemistry. It is easy to feel empathy towards the characters that each has their own problems and eccentricities.
What you really cannot fail to notice, however, is the superb set design by Michael Taylor. From the crooked interior of the house to the use of remote control cars to portray the robbery scene – it is exceptionally clever and innovative and has to be one of the best sets I have ever seen. The splendour is certainly enhanced by fine lighting from James Farncombe and first class special effects by Scott Penrose.
At times I felt the sound was a little muffled, however the play was so enthralling that by the interval my ears had adjusted.
The Ladykillers is a great night out – you may just die laughing!
Runs until 20th October 2012 and continues to tour
The Ladykillers - The Mayflower, Southampton ,