Following a smash-hit debut on the West End last year, an award-winning adaptation of The Ladykillers is set to return to London later this month. Having started life as one of the best-loved films from the Ealing Studios stable, this pitch-black comedy makes a remarkably strong transition to the stage in the capable hands of Graham Linehan.
Mrs Wilberforce is a sweet but eccentric widow who permits Professor Marcus – a role memorably committed to celluloid by Alec Guinness – to lodge in her house. Though he and his associates disguise themselves as an amateur musical ensemble, they're actually a gang of hardened criminals planning an ingenious heist. They reckon without Mrs Wilberforce growing wise to the operation, however, and a series of unexpected twists lead to a gruesome slapstick denouement.
With a longstanding reputation as one of Britain's finest cinematic achievements, The Ladykillers would go on to attract the attention of the Coen Brothers, whose 2004 remake was translocated to Mississippi and starred Tom Hanks.
Those attending the Vaudeville Theatre's production can be assured that this adaptation sticks a little closer to home, however. Graham Linehan is best known as the writer of classic sitcoms like Father Ted and Black Books, and his participation is sure to be a draw in itself. Meanwhile, the cast includes Simon Day and Ralf Little, who appeared in The Fast Show and The Royle Family respectively – so the assembled talents boast an impressive comedy pedigree.
The Ladykillers opens on June 29th, with most performances kicking off at 7:30pm and Saturday matinees beginning at 3pm. Tickets start at £20.
With the production running until January 2014, there's plenty of time for those planning short breaks in the capital to catch a performance. The Vaudeville Theatre is located on the Strand and is easy to reach from most central London hotels and landmarks. Those using the London Underground should head towards the Covent Garden, Leicester Square or Embankment tube stops.