Comedy success for The Ladykillers

A New Vic and Hull Truck Theatre adaptation of The Ladykillers has finished its run at The Stephen Joseph Theatre with roaring applauds.

Directed by: Mark Babych

Written by: William Rose

Adapted by: Graham Lineham

Starring: Anna Kirke, Andy Gillies, Michael Hugo, Andrew Pollard, Matthew Rixon, Timothy Speyer, Matt Sutton

Touring: Hull Truck Theatre

Based on the Ealing Studios classic comedy, written by William Rose in 1955, follows Professor Marcus and his gang of criminals as they attempt to rob a bank.

Disguised as a string quintet, the group take up residence in the home of the elderly, lonely woman Mrs Wilberforce who constantly disturbs and interferes with their plans.

As the narrative progresses, fights begin, arguments occur as the criminals try and succeed with their plan to escape with the stolen money.

As the times change, so does comedy and this production knew how to cater for its audience yet still managed to portray a 1950’s era.

Being familiar with the film and story before seeing the show, I already had expectations of the comedy but I can happily say that even I was, as the cliché says, ‘laughing my socks off’.

I will admit, I did go home and find my dusty Ealing Studios box set to watch the classic but, as said, it didn’t have the same humour as the show.

This is an indefinite ‘hats off’ to the writer, Graham Linehan, who successfully produced a show that will leave all audiences of every age in stitches.

It was full of sexually innuendos and the actors occasionally broke the fourth wall in some cases.

There were some instances when the laughter did override the acting but nevertheless the actors continued professionally.

Set in The Round, the set was large and full of detail. It brought together a picture of a 1950’s home and was more detailed than expected.

From the urn through to the cockatoo cage, everything fitted on the stage and the actors cleverly used the stage by utilising each part of it, including the sections missing where they would occasionally use to create a brilliant comedy.

The production starred Andy Gillies, Michael Hugo, Andrew Pollard, Matthew Rixon, Timothy Speyer and Matt Sutton.

Anna Kirke starred as Mrs Wilberforce, who gave an exceptional performance. The way she performed the role as the feeble old woman was something to see.

She really moulded well into the role and Kirke deserves congratulations on her performance. She was a truly exceptional actor.

During shows, accidents do happen which can throw the actors off guard. But not this talented group of actors.

During the performance, a vital and important part of the set was knocked over which allowed to cast to ad lib.

As the show was a comedy it worked really well and added more to the comedic elements of the show and the audience loved it.

This was not the only ad lib, when Louis (Hugo) and Major Courtney (Rixon) are sat on the roof, they attempted to light a match which didn’t work, causing Hugo to say ‘it’s a fake cigarette anyway’.

This caused uproar throughout the audience and showed the talent of the actors. The ability to continue performing to a high standard without being thrown off guard was a brilliant piece of theatre.

A lot of the audience could relate to production through the era it is set and the film of the same name.

The theatre was packed full of people of all ages and there seemed to be a unanimous liking towards the show.

Could this play be adapted into a modern day context? Probably not. But it didn’t stop hoards of people entering the theatre each night to see the production.

The show is touring and will continue its run at Hull Truck Theatre.


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