THEATRE REVIEW: The Ladykillers

The Ladykillers
The Ladykillers

MOVIE buff Barry Norman lists the 1955 Ealing comedy classic ‘The Ladykillers’ with Peter Sellers and Alec Guinness in his list of the 50 greatest British films in the new issue of the Radio Times.

And it’s not hard to see its enduring appeal (marred only by the lacklustre 2004 remake with Tom Hanks) in the story of five robbers posing as a group of musicians who rent a room at the London home of an old widow while they plan their big heist . . but find that not everything goes to plan.

Tweaked for the stage by ‘Father Ted’ writer Graham Linehan, this West End smash hit is now back on the road again, stopping off until Saturday at Leicester’s Curve Theatre where a big-name cast of TV and stage favourites show that crime can sometimes pay.

Michele Dotrice --- who only seems to be remembered for ‘Some Mother Do ‘Ave ‘Em’ despite an extensive CV that shows otherwise -- plays the doddery widow Mrs Wilberforce who rents a room to ‘Prof Marcus’ (Paul Bown from TV’s ‘Watching’) and his gang, a subterfuge that seems even more absurd with a terrific topsy-turvy set that takes the audience back to a smoky 1950s London.

Other gang members include knife-wielding Louis (Cliff Parisi, the handyman Fred in ‘Call the Midwife’) and Clive Mantle (the love interest for Dawn French in ‘Vicar of Dibley’) as a dubious major who seems more interested in wearing women’s dresses than getting his hands on the cash.

Tickets for this enjoyable, must-see production -- which will be zig-zagging its way to Cardiff in April by way of Belfast, Dublin and Leeds -- can be obtained from the Curve on 0116-242-3595, or online at

Tony Spittles