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Tickets now on sale: The Ladykillers

Peter Capaldi in world premiere of Ealing classic, retold by Father Ted creator

Written by . Published on June 6th 2011.


Tickets now on sale: The Ladykillers

ONE of the best loved Ealing comedies, The Ladykillers, is to get the Craggy Island treatment – and Liverpool audiences will get the chance to see it, world first.

Father Ted and IT Crowd creator Graham Lineham is reworking the 1955 BAFTA-winning screenplay, which starred Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom - primarily for the West End stage.

Good news for the northern based comedy connoisseur: it gets its world premiere at the Liverpool Playhouse, with a two-week run in November, before going directly to London

It boasts an all-star 2011 cast: Peter Capaldi (foul mouthed Spin Doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It), Ben Miller (of the rather underrrated Armstrong and Miller) Marcia Warren (who most recently starred as Hattie Jacques in the eponymous BBC4 biopic), Clive Rowe, Stephen Wright and James Fleet.

peter_capaldi.jpgIts director is Sean Foley - a multi award winning stage director whose work in the West End includes Do You Come Here Often? and The Play What I Wrote.

It has been voted by British audiences as one of the top five film comedies ever.

The Ladykillers, therefore,  shows all the signs of being a massive banker on the stage.

Good news, then, for the northern based black comedy connoisseur: it gets its world premiere at the Liverpool Playhouse, for a two-week run in November, before going directly to London.

Even better news for the financially careful black comedy connoisseur: top whack for a ticket here is £25, not the £55+ it will set you back to see it in the Gielgud Theatre stalls come December.

The Ladykillers, of course, tells the story of the eccentric Mrs Wilberforce who lives alone with her parrots in a strange lopsided house in King’s Cross, where all the action is set. Her life is turned upside down by her new lodger,  Professor Marcus, leader of a bungling gang of criminals, masquerading as a string quartet. Planning a robbery they use Mrs Wilberforce as cover and involve her unwittingly in the plot. Things do not go well and their plans start to unravel in dark, spectacular fashion.

it_crowd_graham_linehan.jpgAmerican William Rose, who wrote the screenplay, claimed to have dreamed the entire storyline and merely had to remember the details when he awoke. This, in itself, sounds like a Father Ted plot, so it would seem like the perfect vehicle for Lineham (right) past master of creating magic from a one-room set with one surreal narrative.

Rather than merely do a Coen Brothers - who saw fit to remake the classic with Tom Hanks in 2004 - Lineham plans to stamp his mark on it: "I wanted the film to haunt the play rather than it be a transcription," he says.

In partnership with Arthur Mathews, Linehan has also written for Harry Enfield, Smith and Jones, Alexei Sayle, The Fast Show and Steve Coogan. His solo writing credits include work with Chris Morris on Brass Eye, Blue Jam and Jam and co-writing the first series of Black Books with Dylan Moran.

He says the Ladykillers' producers have given him the opportunity to create more laughs and his version will be more farcical than the film. "I realised that what they were offering me was a chance to play with these brilliant dolls in a huge dollhouse.”

Capaldi will play the professor and says that from the first rehearsal, the dialogue has "flown off the page".

*The Ladykillers, Liverpool Playhouse, Williamson Square, Liverpool, L1 1EL. Nov3-Nov19. 7.30pm. Matinees at 1.30pm on Nov 10 and 17; 2pm Nov 5,12 and 17. Tickets From £12 to £25. 0151 709 4776. Click here

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EvilEddJune 6th 2011.

The tagline should be 'This is a story Hollywood stole from Ealing. We're stealing it back.'

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