Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, Tues 19 May
Comedy and the criminal underworld would not usually be paired together but they’re brought together in Everyman Theatre’s adaptation of The Ladykillers. Having not seen either the film or the West End production of the show, and as a Father Ted fan I was intrigued to see what this adaption of William Rose’s comedy by Graham Linehan (Father Ted co-writer) had to offer.
Its 1950s London and sweet natured old lady Mrs Wilberforce, who lives with her parrot General Gordon, is delighted when the flamboyant Professor Marcus becomes her new lodger – introducing her to his ‘string quartet’ friends who use the room to practice. However, all is not as it seems as the miss-matched group of men prove to be criminal masterminds who are planning to stage a bank robbery – with the help of the highly moral Mrs Wilberforce (without her knowing, of course). From therein plays out a comedy of errors where the group of criminals deliberate who should end the life of their sweet natured landlady.
Even though the comedy elements did not always hit the right notes (literally with regard to the avant-garde musical rendition), the cast provided superb performances particularly Ruth Rees as Mrs Wilberforce and Paul Fanning as Professor Marcus.
The set was a visual delight, featuring a good mix of props that provided the backdrop to the era, and as the house was situated next to a railway track it provided timely sound effects, adding to the atmosphere of the play. Overall an entertaining production and if The Ladykillers is on your theatre to-see list its well worth catching it locally.
words RHIANON HOLLEY
The Ladykillers, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, until Sat 23 May. Tickets: £8-£10. Info: www.chapter.org