8th May 2019
Arc Theatre, Trowbridge
Type of Production
Author: Delia Lee
Based on the famous Ealing comedy film of 1955 starring great names such as Alec Guiness and Peter Sellers, this stage version of The Ladykillers works surprisingly well. As usual for the Trowbridge Players, there was an excellent set, with plenty of doors to suggest other rooms in the house and a staircase up to the bedroom on a higher level to one side. Furniture and props were all in keeping and plentiful, to suggest the old ladies home of many years where the play is set. Luckily there weren’t many changes needed between scenes but, when needed, they were very well handled by the stage crew who moved quickly and quietly.
The homeowner, Mrs Louisa Wilberforce, was beautifully played. Her dialogue was clear and at a good pace, but she also managed to capture this sweet and eccentric old lady.
The very demanding role of ‘Professor’ Marcus was also well played. Although the dialogue was a little slower than I would have liked, it was delivered with a very sinister edge, which suited the part.
The conman, Major Courtney, was played with just the right level of naivety and cowardice for this unlikely conman.
The OCD pill popping cockney spiv, Harry Robinson, frantically cleaned and had an easy manner, which was a nice contrast to the brooding, dangerous character of Louis Harvey.
One-Round gave a very convincing performance as the slow witted former boxer, who’s ham-fisted attempts to carry out his cello case full of money results in Mrs Wilberforce realising she has been duped by the gang, as the money spills out.
Appearances from the hapless Constable MacDonald and the easily impressed Mrs Tromleyton were well played. Along with the additional guests of Mrs Wilberforce, they completed this very likeable cast.
Direction by Tony Giddings was effective, creating a sense of ease between the gang members but also very distinctive characterisation that worked well. The excellent set allowed him to use different parts of the stage to great effect and gave the suggestion of a much bigger house. The sliding panel at the back to show the untimely death of Major Courtney worked particularly well.
Costumes were all excellent and in keeping and I enjoyed the music used at different points through the play to suggest the era.
This was a very enjoyable play and my congratulations to the cast and crew.