Hasland Theatre Company begins 2015 with a challenging and hilarious comedy, The Ladykillers.
Set in the 1950s, it is the story of little old lady Mrs Wilberforce with her poorly pet parrot General Gordon in her lopsided house who unwittingly invites a criminal gang, posing as musicians, into her home as they plot a robbery at nearby Kings Cross Station.
It is a 2011 stage adaptation by Graham Linehan of the 1955 Ealing Comedy starring Sir Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers.
Director Nicky Beards says, “It’s great to be taking the helm for this fantastic production, although it’s extremely complex to stage in many ways - in terms of set design, stagecraft and actors’ timing, physicality and characterisation. But it’s these sorts of logistical difficulties and demands on performers that challenge a theatre company and have allowed our cast and crew the opportunity to further develop their already not inconsiderable skills both on stage and behind the scenes.
“The pay-off for all the tricky and time-consuming production preparation is the wonderful fun we are all having at the same time. The Ladykillers is one of those rare comedies that keeps the cast laughing throughout the entire rehearsal period, long after the jokes should feel a little stale by repetition. I can only commend my actors for keeping straight faces whilst in character; it’s not easy!
“I’ve long admired the work of the play’s author Graham Linehan, from his earlier much-praised sitcoms Father Ted and Black Books to my personal favourite The IT Crowd. I can think of no better writer to have brought this Ealing Comedy to the modern stage. He has really combined the original with his own unique style of writing. I think our audiences are in for a real treat.”
Steve Cowley who plays the criminal gang’s leader Professor Marcus says: “It’s wonderful to play this role after so many dramatic and serious roles at Hasland in recent times and to play someone who has convinced himself he’s a total genius - he’s not - as well as playing the comedy that unfolds as his plans fall apart in front of his eyes.”
The Ladykillers by Graham Linehan from the motion picture screenplay by William Rose by special arrangement with StudioCanal and by special arrangement with Fiery Angel Ltd, London, runs at Hasland Theatre Playhouse on Storforth Lane for eight performances from January 16 to 24 at 7.30pm. All tickets £7.50. Contact 01246 272271 or online at www.haslandtheatrecompany.co.uk (online booking charges apply).