King’s Cross ain’t what it used to be. In 1955, it was the setting for the Ealing comedy The Ladykillers written by William Rose that became a classic British film said to be a comment on post war English society. Music from the ‘50s evokes the period and the large hall of Assembly Roxy becomes North London for the 2-hour duration of this crazy comedy with the old station being spookily realised towards the end under its arches.
It tells the tale of a disparate group of eccentric criminals led by the wily Professor Marcus, played with some panache by Lawrence Wareing, who seek lodging in a discreet part of town where they can plan a robbery under the guise of being musicians whose one party piece, Boccherini’s Minuet, is slyly played on a gramophone. The genteel widow Mrs Wilberforce (Wendy Mathison) becomes their landlady. In her lonely boredom ‘Mrs Lopsided’, as the crooks fondly call her, is a bit of fantasist, reporting all sorts of imagined nonsense to the police. When they use her as a foil for their dastardly deed, things start to go very badly wrong – at least for them.
Graham Linehan, creator of Father Ted, Blackbooks, and The IT Crowd, has upped the ante in his re- imagining of the script for stage by adding new characteristics to the gang members such as pill popping and cross dressing that making the far- fetched story a bit more credible for the 21st century in a wacky kind of way.
Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group, under the smart direction and design skills of David Grimes, have embraced the entire comic concept that goes from decorum to disorder to create an entertaining evening of theatre despite the limited sightlines of the parts of the venue. The members of The Grads are totally on board across the two acts with The Society of Women cast members being in character from the ticket sales at the door through their appearance to acting as ushers at the interval. Now that’s enthusiasm!
Notable among the cast are the two Napier Graduates Dale McQueen, who takes on the role of the hyper animated Harry Robinson with his narrow alley haircut and, Stewart Kerr who embodies the not so bright One Round with low browed wonder (both pictured).
The Grads’ production of The Ladykillers is a great example of quality work being done on a small budget.
10th – 13th May Assembly Roxy at 7:30pm