Fringe Box



Stage Dragon Review: The Ladykillers at The Electric Theatre

Published on: 23 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 23 Mar, 2023

By Tricia Marcotti

What do a simple working-class tough, a spiv, an ex-major, a foreign bully, a widow, and a rather posh talking professor have in common?

The Ladykillers at the Electric Theatre. Mrs Wilberforce with the string quartet. Photo by Jonathan Constant

Well they, together with a policeman, a number of little old ladies, and a parrot whom we never actually get to meet, are the cast of  The Ladykillers, currently on at the Electric Theatre in a five-star production by the Guildburys Theatre Company.

Set in the immediate post Second world War-era, the play brings together some familiar stereotypes.

Mrs Wilberforce (Claire Racklyeft), our widow, decides to rent out a room. The leader of a gang (Jay Orbaum) has planned a cunning robbery and needs a place to rehearse his crew, so rents it. From that point forward, the wheels of fate are set in motion!

The play has been adapted from the film by Graham Linehan and whereas the film made use of the area around King’s Cross as its backdrop, the play has been set completely within the house, the outside being suggested by the staging and by the sound of trains passing by, cleverly condensed to fit the Electric Theatre’s stage area.

The Ladykillers at the Electric Theatre. How many people can you fit into a closet? Photo by Jonathan Constant

Ian Nichols, the director, along with Graham Russell-Price created this set design, packing in every location needed to allow the play to succeed.

I especially liked the waterpipe that required a hammer to get the water to flow. I think my grandmother had one of those!

Did I mention the cover story for the robbers? Our motley crew are posing as an amateur string quartet practising for a future performance of Boccherini’s String Quartet in E major, op. 11 no.5, as in the original movie. Both the music and the sound/lighting effects made the play very atmospheric, spooky at times and farcical at others.

What time is teatime? Every one of the cast has a different idea! And that difference puts our Ladykillers at risk.

And the play also raised a number of other interesting questions for the audience to ponder, such as, is the difference between beautiful music and a cacophonous scratching of strings only in the ear of the listener and how much does a set of violin strings actually cost?

The Ladykillers is a cross between a crime drama and a gentle farce and that makes for a very enjoyable evening.

Will the robbers get away with it? Or will they not? And what will happen to the parrot? There’s only one way to find out!

The Ladykillers runs until Saturday, March 25. You can book tickets online at the Electric Theatre website here.

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Responses to Stage Dragon Review: The Ladykillers at The Electric Theatre

  1. Adam Kinsey Reply

    March 24, 2023 at 10:44 pm

    This isn’t a review. Aside from a comment about the set, this could have been written without even seeing the production. There is no comment about any of the performances or direction. Yet the company concerned is even reproducing this calling it a five-star review! Bizarre.

    Editors comment: Our reviews are carried out by a team of volunteers who love the theatre and who aim to let people know what they can expect from plays they view. Our reviewer loved the production by the Guildburys Theatre Company and said exactly that. The reviews may not be to everybody’s taste or expectation but they support local theatre and encourage our readers to attend.

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