Reviews and views on What's on in the Northeast, from keen gigger, theatre-goer and comedy consumer, Jo Oliver.
Saturday, 2 March 2013
Theatre Review: Ladykillers at Hull New Theatre
Ladykillers, Hull New Theatre Feb 2013
This production of The
Ladykillers is based on the 1955 Ealing black comedy film which was the
last such British comedy to be directed by Alexander Mackendrick before he
headed to Hollywood. This classic film still gets regular repeats on tv and
hence the roles of Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers,
Danny Green, Jack Warner and Katie Johnson will be well remembered by the
This story is a classic tale of a heist gone wrong but it is
in the reaction of the various characters after the event that leads to the
most memorable moments. Mrs Wilberforce (Michele Dotrice) needs a source of
extra income so she puts an advert for rooms to let in a local shop window.
“Professor” Marcus (Paul Brown) calls around to view the rooms. He announces
that he is a member of a small amateur musical group who wish to rehearse in
the rooms. The musicians arrive in quick succession and quickly move upstairs
where it is revealed to the audience that they are not musicians but crooks
wanting to carry out a major heist. The plan is to involve Mrs Wilberforce
without her knowledge.
After the heist, problems start to emerge and the members of
the gang start to become suspicious of one another. This will leads to a number
of comic scenes.
The story, like the film, still takes place in an era when
steam trains regularly shake the house and slow freight trains to Newcastle
rumble past like clockwork.Graham
Lineham, who wrote the script to Father
Ted, has retained the best lines from the original film but has introduced
others which have helped freshen up the show. It is interesting to read in the
programme notes that Lineham feels that whilst changing a scene in a film can
add suspense, the same change slows down the pace in a stage play. It is
therefore pleasing to report that the production skips along at a steady cantor
and kept everyone in our party, whose ages ranged from 9 to 75, happy.
Clive Mantle’s affable Major Courtney was, in some ways,
similar to his recent TV role in the BBC3 Comedy White Van Man. William Troughton’s role as Harry was another source
of regular laughs in the early stages of the show. The other members of the
cast are not really given a chance to shine until the later stages of the
performance which may be a lost opportunity.
The production takes place on a single well designed set
showing several rooms of Mrs Wilberforce’s house. The owner is played by the
engaging Michele Dotrice who gets the balance right between the loveable yet
slightly crazy widow and the shrewd systematic character that made the film
such a hit. The set serves to show what is happening in different areas of the
house simultaneously. A number of special effects certainly add humour to the
Performing: Paul Brown (Professor Marcus), Clive Mantle
(Major Courtney), Chris McCalphy (One-Round), William Troughton (Harry), Shaun
Williamson (Louis), Michele Dotrice (Mrs Wilberforce).
Adapted by Graham Linehan.
Producer Edward Snape (for Fiery Angel in association with
Stage Entertainment UK and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse).
Director Sean Folery.
Between 4th March 2013 and 13th April
2013 this tour will visit 6 venues in Norwich, Woking, Newcastle upon Tyne,
Salford, Leeds and Cardiff. This production has already been seen in 17 venues
since 14th September 2012
Mon, 4th March 2013 to Sat, 9th March 2013Theatre Royal, Norwich
Mon, 11th March 2013 to Sat, 16th March 2013New Victoria Theatre, Woking
Mon, 18th March 2013 to Sat, 23rd March 2013Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne
Mon, 25th March 2013 to Sat, 30th March 2013The Lowry, Salford
Tue, 2nd April 2013 to Sat, 6th April 2013Grand Theatre and Opera House, Leeds
Tue, 9th April 2013 to Sat, 13th April 2013New Theatre, Cardiff
Review by "Mr Jowheretogo" Stephen Oliver...what a star.
The Jowheretogo Show is on every Monday at noon on your community radio Station, NE1fm. Gigs, comedy theatre and random ways to entertain yourselves in the northeast. Tune in...or go on NE1fm.net and listen there.