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The Ladykillers

by Emily Healey-Lynham

If I said “LadyKillers” to you, you would probably think of the classic 1955 British film from Ealing Studios starring Alec Guiness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom and Peter Sellers to name just a few of its legendary stars (or if you have really bad taste the awful American remake from The Coen Brothers in 2004 starring Tom Hanks which no one likes to talk about).  But did you know it is now packing in audiences every night in the West End?

Recently I went to the Gielgud Theatre to see the Ladykillers theatrical production written by Graham Linehan (Father Ted, Black books & IT Crowd) and directed by Sean Foley (The play what I wrote, Joan Rivers: A work in progress & I am Shakespeare) and I was not left disappointed as with a bad American movie re-make.

The night got off to a great start with the auditorium filled with delightful old music hall style tunes as people took their seats the play begun, we then got to see a fantastic set of Mrs. Wilberforce’s house which opened up to reveal the inside of the sweet little old ladies house, which is central to the story of the Ladykillers.  The set was transformed into a car chase scene, a rail station and a railway tunnel which was a sight to behold as a train came hurtling towards the audience with smoke and steam!Not only is the set from Michael Taylor (All’s well that ends well, my boy Jack & Private lives) a joy to see as it magically shakes and shudders as a train goes by “outside”, the slight hand of magic used in the production is also superb and it has me and my companion wondering how a knife ended up in someone’s head in the second act!

In this production you could not choose one stand out actor from the leading actors in this production: Marcia Warren, Peter Capaldi, James Fleet, Stephen Wright, Clive Rowe and Ben Miller were all phenomenal in their roles (even the violin strings played a vital part).

If you are a fan of the original movie you will be in luck, this production is a joy to watch and every audience member I saw was thrilled to see this comical play produced and presented in a way that complements its origins and the 1955 movie production, when the show was over everyone left with a smile on their face.  Comedian Alistair McGowan was in attendance when I was there and it would not surprise me if he was to take up the role presently played by Peter Capaldi (Professor Marcus) as the show is now being extended due to its recent box office breaking number of ticket sales.

If you want an evening out in the theatre with murder, robbery, LOTS of tea and General Gordon the parrot go to the Gielgud Theatre and see Ladykillers it really is a killer production.

Gielgud Theatre
35-37 Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1D 6AR
United Kingdom

Tickets can be obtained online or by phone: 0844 482 5130


  • Emily Healey-Lynham

    Emily has been involved in the media industry for well over 10 years from working on film sets to journalism and PR. Emily is a strategic, energetic Editor who has been with Bespoke since the start heading up the Culture department. Being a fan of all art forms from the theatre to films, literature to exhibitions Emily is usually found in the stalls of a theatre telling you where the cast have been seen before without looking in the programme or fact finding in an art gallery, failing that she will be sipping champagne at the bar regaling stories of "glory days" of the West End!

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