The Ladykillers

Date 8th April 2017
Society Harleston Players
Venue Archbishop Sancroft High School
Type of Production Play
Director Sara Curtis

Report

Author: Terry Rymer

It took the whole play to understand why the ‘Isadora Duncan’ length scarf is worn by the leading man! All would become clear of course, as this talented cast take us on an unlikely but intriguing journey of farcical proportions at the home of Mrs Louisa Wilberforce (Annie Chapman), who gave an immaculate performance with the wit and a certain naivety as the vulnerable widow in need of funds to get by, and also perhaps to aid her talkative ‘friend’ General Gordon, her ailing parrot! She was every inch that woman. Albeit her frequent calls to the local constabulary were dealt with sympathetically by Constable Macdonald (Andy Hallsworth) with the patience of job and the diplomacy to match as her flights of fancy were at best regarded as just that! A reason for the later events to be treated with equal reluctance and even dismissal!

It took the enduring charm and style of Professor Marcus (Steve Askew), complete with the never ending scarf, to convince her that he wished to rent her spare room as a rehearsal venue for his string quartet! He certainly oozed the charisma to flatter and charm as he continued to explain the exploits of his motley band of friends as they arrived complete with their instruments to ‘rehearse’ for future ‘concert performances’. His was a pivotal role carried off with aplomb and not a single blemish as he wriggled and contrived to maintain the subterfuge, as he and his cronies plotted their intent to commit the perfect robbery according to his ‘foolproof’ plan!

Now his compatriots were in a league of their own! We had the archetypal Major Courtney (Grant Fishill) as he combined a certain military persona with an over zealous servility and penchant for cross dressing! Harry Robinson (Simon Evans) with a cleaning fetish to die for, not a speck of dust was safe from his incessant polishing as he pulverised any minor potential area of possible contamination with a manic zeal. One-Round (Peter Long) with the brain perhaps permanently effected by his exploits in the ring, even if his nickname did reflect that he was equally incompetent there too! Louis Harvey (Tony Winn) as an unpredictable impetuous Romanian ‘hitman’ with a reputation for wielding his knife to detrimental effect on anyone who got in his way! This quartet were hilarious in their individual ‘little twists and foibles’ (to quote the Director!). They never missed an opportunity and clearly had the confidence and experience to exploit their characteristics to maximum effect. Superb timing and mannerisms throughout!

The Lady guests to the ‘concert’ were suitably attired and showed just the right level of doubtful appreciation of the quartets rendition of the ‘modern’ and unique style as devised by Prof Marcus as he bluffed and conned his way out of an awkward situation. The untimely and cleverly contrived deaths of each of these villains in turn was a stroke of genius as passing trains ‘removed’ any trace of their existence! And of course the scarf at last revealed its’ true purpose! (Won’t spoil it, just in case!), but the superb set design (take a bow David Cumming) was perfect to enable the whole piece to move to it’s truly unbelievable conclusion…A clever piece played here more or less as a farce with sinister undertones and a cast who could carry it off to great effect. A lovely entertaining evening again, (that’s what it’s about), for audiences to enjoy and appreciate. How lucky Harleston and its surrounds are to have such a talented group to continue producing such high quality shows.

Congratulations on winning the 2016 NODA Award for Best Drama ‘Treasure Island’ at Sundays NODA  Awards Ceremony.