Review: The Ladykillers - Gielgud Theatre, London

The Ladykillers

Saturday 21 January 2012 7.30pm: This remake of the classic 1950s Ealing comedy follows the exploits of a gang of criminals who use an oblivious old lady's house to pull off a daring armed robbery.  Graham Linehan's re-imagining of the Ladykillers mixes slapstick and farce with the dark humour of the original.  

The robbery is initially successful but the botched aftermath and escape attempts of the hapless fivesome are the focus as this macabre comedy unfolds. 

 The show is fantastically cast. Marcia Warren's Mrs Wilberforce is prim, proper and oblivious, Stephen Wight's cheeky cockney barrow boy is effervescent and consistently entertaining but Peter Capaldi takes centre stage as Professor Marcus, a self-styled master criminal surrounded by buffoons.  Ben Miller's Eastern European hitman is a model of ruthlessness and contrasts nicely with James Fleet's closet transvestite and this motley crew is completed by Clive Rowe's slow former boxer, 'One Round' whose strength is only matched by his stupidity.

Linehan, creator of Father Ted and more recently The IT Crowd, has created a hilarious script that is destined for a successful West End-run.  The show offers witty dialogue with the Professor at one point saying that 'being fooled by art is one of the many pleasures afforded the middle classes' with a knowing look to the audience after Mrs Wilberforce's elderly friends are delighted by an inept and aurally offensive-musical review by the five criminals. The set is also fantastic, with impressive lighting and sounds effects throughout.  

It's a great show, with laughs throughout; you're guaranteed to leave with a grin on your face.

The Ladykillers is on at the Gielgud Theatre until 14th April, book your tickets now from Ticketmaster UK to avoid disappointment. 

Review by Tom Herne and Desi Aleksieva