Review: The Ladykillers Of Humber Doucy Lane, by Harry Long, Eastern Angles and Shanty Theatre Company, Seckford Theatre, Woodbridge, to January 20.
- Credit: Archant
This is the second take on the Ealing comedy classic I’ve seen in recent months and my favourite.
Subverting the original just enough so as not to lose what makes it a cinematic treasure, it was an enjoyable romp that was as silly as it was surreal.
The meta-humour worked so well, particularly writer Harry Long and director Laura Keefe’s genius solution to having Emma Barclay on stage as two characters at the same time. So simple I’m surprised nobody’s thought of it before, the gag could’ve easily become tiresome but just built and built.
The basic plot doesn’t stray too far from the original. A gang of crooks escape Norwich Prison, but before going their separate ways they plan one last job - using a performance of The Importance of Being Earnest as cover to rob the audience’s homes. The fly in the ointment, their Michael Ball obsessed theatrical landlady Binkie Blaine.
Barclay, as con on the run Cow Crusher and Binkie, steals the show; particularly as the latter.
The cast made good use of having a larger space to play in, with Keefe returning to re-block some action and make a few changes since the show’s run at Ipswich’s Sir John Mills Theatre.
I’d have liked her and Long to play with the story’s structure a bit more, really shake things up so we don’t know what’s coming for once; but overall it’d be a crime to miss out on the fun. Just make sure you’ve locked the front door before leaving home.
Read Andrew Clarke’s chat with creative producer Tim Bell.