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Previewed 26 November 2011, Opened 7 December 2011, Closed 14 April 2012 at the Gielgud Theatre
Returned Previewed 29 June 2013, Opened 9 July 2013, Closed 16 November 2013 at the Vaudeville Theatre
The acclaimed stage production of the 1955 'Ealing Comedy' The Ladykillers in London directed by Sean Foley.
Following a critically acclaimed season at London's Gielgud Theatre in 2011, Sean Foley's production of Graham Linehan's comedy The Ladykillers returns to London's West End following a regional tour in a re-cast production from 29 June 2013.
The Ladykillers is a classic black comedy; a sweet little old lady, alone in her house, is pitted against a gang of criminal misfits who will stop at nothing... Mrs Wilberforce lives alone with her parrot in a strange lopsided house in a railway tunnel in King's Cross. Her life is turned upside down by the arrival of archly sinister Professor Marcus and his four friends, who between them make up the most unlikely group of criminals. Planning the heist of a security van, they decide to use Mrs Wilberforce as cover and involve her unwittingly in the plot. But the little old lady is not as senile as they imagine however, and things do not go too well and the Professor's plan starts to unravel... Expect high jinks, criminal bungling and one rather wily little old lady!
This production of The Ladykillers in London has been adapted for the stage by Graham Linehan from the motion picture screenplay by William Rose and is directed by Sean Foley with designs by Michael Taylor, lighting by James Farncombe and sound by Ben Ringham and Max Ringham.
Sean Foley's West End theatre credits include directing Joe Orton's comedy What the Butler Saw starring Omid Djalili and Samantha Bond (Vaudeville Theatre 2012), devising and directing Pinter's People - a collection of sketches, monologues and two-handers by Harold Pinter - starring Bill Bailey, Sally Phillips, Kevin Eldon and Geraldine McNulty (Haymarket Theatre 2007). Along with Hamish McColl he devised and starred in the comedies The Play What I Wrote (Wyndham's Theatre 2001, returned 2002) and Ducktastic! (Noel Coward Theatre 2005).
Graham Linehan is best know for his television writing which includes the hit comedies Father Ted co-written with Arthur Mathews, Black Books co-written with Dylan Moran and The I.T. Crowd which he also directed, all for Channel 4.
"While the ensemble-playing is topnotch, the real star of Sean Foley's show is the set, which has a life of its own. The facade of the King's Cross house, where the Professor is lodging with the sweet widowed Mrs Wilberforce, swivels from the exterior to the interior where everything is on a tilt. 'I have subsidence,' she says. Drapes fall and vanish, furniture slides drunkenly. The plot seldom strays far from the original, although Linehan has niftily extended the role for the Prof's absurdly long scarf... A marvellous Marcia Warren, all lavender and lace, plays Mrs Wilberforc ramrod straight while everything around her is literally tilted and everyone thoroughly bent. It's good fun, but not giddying." The Mail on Sunday (Original cast Gielgud Theatre December 2011)
"It always was a nice idea, and the 1955 Ealing film still gives joy. But for once this is no pale stage rip-off but a new-written piece of perfection. Graham Linehan, author of Father Ted and Black Books, opens up the old comedy to new layers, and Sean Foley faultlessly directs Peter Capaldi and Clive Rowe, plus Ben Miller as a nervy foreign knifeman with a paranoid fear of old ladies, James Fleet as a moustached Major with a taste for ladies' clothes, a yobbish Stephen Wight as Harry the pill-popping youth, and of course the matchless Marcia Warren as Mrs Wilberforce. She never overplays the eccentricity, but overlays it with a dignified Edwardian sweetness that is pure Ealing. Honed to perfection over weeks in the Liverpool Everyman, the show deserves long West End glory. If anything can temporarily cheer up this double-dip island, it is knowing we turn out stuff like this." The Times (Original cast Gielgud Theatre December 2011)
The Ladykillers in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 26 November 2011, opened on 7 December 2011 and closed on 14 April 2012, returned to Vaudeville Theatre previewed from 29 June 2013, opened on 9 July 2013 and closed on 16 November 2013.