REVIEW: The Ladykillers, Lyceum

The Ladykillers
The Ladykillers
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YOU might think twice about taking in a lodger after watching this winning adaptation of a classic British comedy.

Graham Linehan has taken William Rose’s treasured 50s big screen tale and spun one of the funniest evenings to grace our stages in a while.

The premise remains the same: a group of bank robbers masquerading as musicians plan their dastardly deed under the roof of old lady Mrs Wilberforce (a delightfully wonky Michele Dotrice). Sean Foley directs a well chosen cast whose hapless antics are taken to farcical and sometimes slapstick extreme with hilarious consequences - even when a vital prop and a large shoulder of the set misbehaves on this opening night it doesn’t seem out of place and is swiftly and skilfully woven into the comedic action.

Paul Bown is perfectly placed as smooth-talking Professor Marcus, the man with a cunning plan to make himself and an eclectic band of crooks rich. Best of that bunch is the shambolic and cross-dressing Major Courtney, a Basil Fawlty-esque mewling whirlwind created by Clive Mantle, closely followed by Romanian wannabe gangster Louis Harvey, a welcome return from former EastEnders/Extras regular Shaun Williamson.

William Troughton and Chris McCalphy complete this cabal of chaos in the form of pill-popping, cleaning-obsessed wideboy Harry Robinson and giant thicko One-Round.

The other major star of the show is the set; Mrs Wilberforce’s subsiding, rail-side home moves and extends to incorporate a slightly surreal car chase, a rooftop rumble and a railway tunnel.

It all adds up to a brilliantly conceived revival of a staple British funny which continues in Sheffield until Saturday.