Mrs Louis Wilberforce is a little old lady who lives alone with her raucous parrot and active imagination. With nothing much to occupy her she is always reporting unrealistic suspicions to the police and sending them on wild goose chases. But one day an archly sinister character, ‘Professor’ Marcus turns up at her door asking to rent a room, what Wilberforce doesn’t know is that he is the head of a hardened gang of criminals currently attempting a van robbery.
‘The Ladykillers’ is a play based on the 1955 movie written by William Rose and adapted for the stage by Graham Linehan, who famously directed ‘The IT Crowd’ and ‘Father Ted’.
Professor Marcus was famously played by Tom Hanks in the 2004 film remake and by Peter Capaldi in the original stage production. But Steven Elliot did a fantastic job of living up to this, his body language and tone was spot on for orchestrator of the whole caper.
Amongst the The Professor’s accomplices is slow-witted and punch drunk ex-boxer ‘One-Round’ Lawson (played by Damian Williams), drug addicted Harry Robinson (played by Sam Lupton), Coward Major Courteny (Played by Graham Seed), the murderous, cruel and vicious continental gangster Louis Harvey (played by Anthony Dunn) and of course ignorant widow Louis Wilberforce (played by Ann Penfold). There was a lot of talent on stage and they showed everyone that they would do anything for a laugh, whether it’s playing their instruments badly or hiding in a cupboard.
Marcus Houden does a great job of playing the doubtful Constable McDonald and he also plays a hilarious cameo later in the show, where he heads a swarm of old ladies. This was one of the many moments that I found myself crying with laughter throughout the show.
The set designer had the difficult job of squeezing a movie that takes place in multiple scenes onto a single stage and Richard Foxton has done a great job. Most of the scenes take place in the house, which has two stories but the house also rotates to allow scenes on the roof and at one point giving us a glimpse into the robbery itself with a model of the van robbery.
The whole night was very funny and it had me chuckling through most of the night and when I wasn’t giggling I was trying to hold back the tears of laughter.
I would highly recommend going to see the show, it really is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen at The Queen’s Theatre.