The Ladykillers at Yeovil Swan Theatre

promptladykillersTHE 1955 Ealing comedy classic The Ladykillers found a new lease of life in 2011 on stage in London, where a theatrical version by Graham Linehan ran for several years.

Now released for amateurs, it has several productions in the region in coming weeks, the first of which is now open at Yeovil’s Swan Theatre.

Under the skillful direction of Lyn Lockyer, on a clever set designed and built by Mike Robbins and his team, this hilarious black comedy shows the talented and versatile company at its best.

It’s the story of a heist, carried out by an ill-assorted gang who, for the sake of secrecy, pretend to be members of a string quartet.

Professor Marcus answers an advertisement placed in a Kings Cross newsagents by the scatty widow Mrs Wilberforce. He moves in and the gang comes to “rehearse” under the cover of a gramophone playing Boccherini.

Mrs Wilberforce is taken in, and before long is the unwitting mule for the loot.

But when she discovers the truth, the men must take drastic action if they are to escape.

Mary Buckle is perfectly cast as the diminutive and steely widow of a naval hero, with Paul Reakes oozing charisma as “the professor.”

The astonishingly compelling actor Sean Driver holds the stage as the murderous Romanian Louis, with Duncan Wright as the lovable giant One Round, and newcomer Chris Williamson as the spivy Harry in a marvellous tight shiny suit. Pete Reay is the con-man major with his predilection for women’s clothes, and David Smith a charmingly helpful young policeman.

Timing is all in bringing off this show, and the Swan company has it to perfection.

The production continues until Saturday. Do try to get a ticket if you can.


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