Most people will know of this immensely entertaining crime caper as one of Ealing Studios’ finest offerings, in which the redoubtable elderly widow Mrs. Wilberforce, who likes to report suspicious behaviour to the police, rents out rooms in her house to the dapper Professor Marcus (originally and unforgettably played by Alec Guinness) and his cohort of thieves without honour, constantly bickering among themselves.
Posing as a string quintet, they pull off a bank robberAgreed that they need to murder her, the bumbling crooks prove no match for Mrs Wilberforce’s old-fashioned Victorian values: they’re dispatched to their early graves with witty heartlessness, as she goes magisterially on her way, hatpin firmly in place.
The stage play of 'The Ladykillers' has been adapted from the film by the prolific pen of Graham Linehan, also famous for such comedies as 'Father Ted', 'The IT Crowd', 'Count Arthur Strong' and 'Black Books'.
This is a fascinating and complex black comedy which transcends its apparently simplistic plot: it can be seen as an allegory on the state of Britain at mid-century (it was originally filmed in 1955), symbolising decrepit England in extremis, with its feeble, grasping, self-deluded citizens and the faded idealism of the British Empire that is holding the nation back – or you can simply sit back and enjoy its near flawless script and laugh at the familiar but somehow still sinister jokes.
'The Ladykillers' is at The Apollo Theatre from February 3rd to 11th (not Sunday or Monday) at 7.30pm. Tickets are now available on our website!