The Ladykillers, King’s Lynn Art Centre
Crime doesn’t pay –but it can be hilarious, is the message from the latest production of the King’s Lynn Operatic and Dramatic Society, The Ladykillers, which opened on last night (Thursday, October 30).
A 2011 rewrite by Norfolk-based comedy writer Graham Linehan of the 1955 Ealing Film Studio classic with Alec Guinness, this tells a salutory tale of what occurs when five villains descend on a house in King’s Cross to plan and execute a daring robbery.
The gang is led by Professor Marcus (Steve Bond), who fancies himself as the thinking man’s criminal. Indeed he passes himself and his henchmen off as a chamber orchestra (with the help of a closed door and a record) to keep up the pretence.
The landlady is Louisa Wilberforce (Louise Smith) who seems the epitome of sweet little old lady. But we know that when it comes to ruthless desparados versus dotty granny, in farce there can only be one winner.
Marcus looking for the perfect ‘elegant’ ending to his heist incorporates an unknowing Mrs Wilberforce into the robbery to bring the loot home without the polcie suspecting.
But helpful policemen and other old ladies demanding to be entertained by classical music lead the whole plot to unravel with murderous results.
On the opening night, the pace, so vital for what is essentially a farce, maybe sagged a little at times, but the production was pushed along by the quality of the writing and the sheer excellence of the performances.
Louise Smith (doing a fine Joan Hickson impersonation) and Steve Bond made strong leads with David Coles (nervous wreck The Major), Anthony Drown (spiv Harry) and Tony Downing (cerebrally-challenged heavy ‘One-Round) are all wonderful. But the superb John Giller rather steals the show as Romanian thug Louis (Herbert Lom in the film).
Also appearing are Rob Sweeny as Pc Macdonald and Sandra Cartwright as Mrs Tromleyton.
Well done KLODS – another winner!
The play continues tonight and tomorrow.