Theatre review - The Ladykillers by the Lytham Anonymous Players

The Ladykillers - Image Roger Prutton

The Ladykillers - Image Roger Prutton - Credit: Archant

Rob Gemmell went along to see the Lytham Anonymous Players production of The Ladykillers at the Lowther Pavilion

The Ladykillers – Lytham Anonymous Players – Lowther Pavilion, Lytham – Wednesday 19th August

In 1955 the crime comedy, “The Ladykillers” was made famous by Peter Sellers and Alec Guinness and the story has now been re-written for stage by “Father Ted” and “The IT Crowd” writer, Graham Linehan.

The story is of an old lady called Mrs. Wilberforce who lives alone in her house, remnants of the war still evident in its appearance and her husband now a long, distant memory. One day there is a knock on the door, when she answers it she is greeted by the charming and delectable, Professor Marcus who is looking for a room to rent. He barely looks at the room before deciding he wants it and then letting Mrs. Wilberforce know that he is part of a group of amateur musicians and that his other four band members will turn up occasionally to rehearse. The naive Mrs. Wilberforce agrees to the situation not realising that she is housing a gang of would-be bank robbers who are targeting their next hit.

Lytham Anonymous Players have once again gone big in terms of production values for their summer play and they do not disappoint. Linehan’s play is based on the 1955 original, but there is definite evidence of his own humour within the story with classic one-liners and fast paced action all executed perfectly.

Liz Antcliffe played the lovable Mrs. Wilberforce with a genuine sincerity that allowed the audience to warm to her. Andy Cooke was superb in his portrayal as Professor Marcus with his gentlemanly elegance portrayed faultlessly. Jeff Redfern was the slightly timid and nervous, Major Courtney who produced some of the shows finest visual performances in-between lines. Kieran O’Doherty was hilarious in his rendition of Harry Robinson with a perfected London accent and naturalism in his performance. Chris Campbell played One-Round, producing some of the show’s laugh-out-loud scenes in a role that he simply eased through with such professionalism. Chris Slack was the sinister, Louis Harvey played with mystery depicting the role perfectly. There was also the inclusion of a more ornithological variety from Richie Withers playing one of the plays more talked about characters!

The cast are one of the best ensembles I have seen from the Lytham Anonymous Players with the difference in characteristics, visually and verbally allowing the flow of the comedy to be punchier and funnier. The lines flowed effortlessly between each of the actors with the pace of the comedy absolutely spot on and the laughs come quick and plentiful with tears constantly filling in your eyes before they’ve had chance to dry. The cramped conditions on the small stage only adding to the visual comedy effects played against a dressed backdrop of pure expertise.

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Director Di Prutton has worked wonders on such a fine piece of work even resorting to going that extra step with the inclusion of special video pieces projected onto a backdrop to really stamp her mark and make the show her own. She has been gifted a simply perfect cast to work with who all, as a group, have made this one of the most enjoyable and funny plays I have seen from the players.

The show continues on Thursday 20th August up to and including Saturday 22nd August at 7.30pm. For more information, or to book tickets, please visit the website at