When Mrs Wilberforce puts an advert in the local newsagent’s window to rent out her guest bedrooms, the last thing she expects is to be overrun by a group of enthusiastic, if eccentric, amateur musicians. But despite the constant sound of a string quartet filling the house, Professor Marcus and his friends The Major, Harry, Louis and ‘One-Round’ are not what they seem, and soon she finds herself dragged into the Professor’s scheme to pull off a violent robbery. With the police unaware, only Mrs Wilberforce and her parrot, General Gordon, stand between the five desperate criminals and their ill-gotten £200,000.
Will she see justice done? Or will they keep the ‘old girl’ quiet…permanently?
Who will be forced to face the music?
Adapted by Graham Linehan, the writer behind such hit TV series as ‘Father Ted’, ‘Black Books’ and ‘The IT Crowd’, this hilarious black comedy is taken from the 1955 Ealing Studios classic movie starring Sir Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom. When it debuted in London’s West End in 2011, with Peter Capaldi, James Fleet and Ben Miller, it garnered rave reviews and a sell-out at the box office.
Claude Courtney ‘The Major’
Paul M Ford
Harry ‘Mr Robinson’
One-Round ‘Mr Lawson’
Louis ‘Mr Harvey’
General Gordon, A South American Macaw
‘A Loose Collection of Elderly Ladies’
Chloe Collins, Rachel Handler, Helen Jarvest, Hannah Montgomery, Lyndsey Pennycooke
Mike Brown, Steve Harris, Keith Lewis
Sound Design and Operation
Lighting Design and Operation
Sheila Bird, Kath Dawes, Dawn Ford
Mike Brown, Paul Ford
Mike Brown, Andy Hall, Steve Harris, Keith Lewis
Chris Argles, Sheila Bird, Kath Dawes, Dawn Ford, Richard Lloyd, Penny Payne, Guy Harries-Rees
Event review: ‘The Ladykillers’
by Theatre Workshop Coulsdon
By Andy Ellis for the Croydon Citizen – Friday 15th April, 2016
A mis-timed sound effect caused chuckles, says Andy Ellis, but a great time was had by audience and cast alike
I had never seen nor read The Ladykillers, either the stage adaptation by Graham Linehan or the Ealing comedy film of the same name, and so entered Coulsdon Community Centre with no idea of plot or even of genre. I wasn’t even quite sure how to get there: the council signpost to the Centre is some ten yards west of the entrance so motorists can easily overshoot the turning. There’s plenty of parking at the back of the Centre, and Woodmansterne train station is about ten minutes walk away. Buses 166 and 434 stop outside.
After collecting tickets from a cheery and well-organized box office, we were politely directed to the rather attractive auditorium. The Community Centre was built in the 1930s and retains much of its charming period decor. Coffee and tea were available, as were beer, cider and wine at very reasonable prices from the makeshift bar. All of the ushers and catering staff were friendly and helpful.
The one-liners got funnier and funnier as the play progressed.
The play opens with one of the main protagonists, Mrs. Wilberforce, played by Sheila Bird, who gave a delightful and consistent performance through the whole play. Then the first half ran at a steady pace with, in particular, sterling deliveries from Bruce Montgomery as Professor Marcus and Paul Ford as The Major. The one-liners from Mr. Lawson (Richard Lloyd) got funnier and funnier as the play progressed.
The last scene before the interval involves an impromptu concert. The ‘ladies’ who form its audience hammed things up wonderfully, with one of their number, Mrs Tromleyton (played by Penny Payne), stealing the closing seconds. The second half was more pedestrian but this, I suspect, was due to the plot rather than the production or cast. Humour and suspense were maintained right up until the end. There was real enthusiasm and competence from a script-perfect cast of actors who were obviously enjoying themselves. Naturally there were a couple of mishaps including a mistimed entry (remedied by quick improvisation) and a late sound effect which evoked a few unplanned chuckles. The set was beautifully designed, props were just right and sound effects hit the spot.
In conclusion: you could battle your way into the West End but why do so when dramatic delights like this are right on Croydon’s doorstep? I shall be looking out for future productions by Theatre Workshop Coulsdon.