The Ladykillers tells the story of the sweet and unassuming Mrs Wilberforce, who takes in a group of lodgers posing as amateur musicians. The lodgers turn out to be a group of criminals who plan to implicate their elderly landlady into a bank heist. When Mrs Wilberforce begins to cotton onto the illegal misdoings, the question raised is will she be the whistle-blower to this motley crew of criminals? Or will she meet her timely demise before she gets the chance?
Originally debuting at the Gielgud Theatre, the play now returns for a second West End run at the Vaudeville Theatre. The production features a cast of television veterans, including Angela Thorne as Mrs Wilberforce, Ralf Little as Harry and Simon Day as Major Courtney. Thorne is perhaps best known for her role as Marjory in To the Manor Born, whilst Little is best-known for his role as Antony in The Royle Family. The show also features Olivier Award winners Con O’Neill and John Gordon Sinclair.
Whilst the original film had a much darker tone, Linehan has opted to play up to the humour of the story by choosing to make the piece more slapstick than sinister. Set Designer Michael Taylor ingeniously encapsulates the farcical feel of the adaptation by creating a skewed set with furniture that moves every time a locomotive roars past.