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Plenty of crowd-pleasing slapstick in classic comedy
4:36pm Wednesday 17th October 2012 in Entertainments
THE LADYKILLERS, THE MAYFLOWER, SOUTHAMPTON
THE original film version of The Ladykillers is widely regarded as one of the best British comedies ever made.
The tale of a little old lady who inadvertently lets out her spare room to a bunch of robbers planning a heist and gets caught up in their plot, lends itself to a comedy of confusion, misdirection and farce.
There is something wonderfully British about this production, with its cast of television favourites including Clive Mantle, Michele Dotrice and Shaun Williamson.
Dotrice is perfect as the nosy and eager-to-please Mrs Wilberforce, and Paul Brown is suitably sinister as the leader of this hapless band of crooks.
There are many genuinely funny moments, including a hilarious concert as the crooks, pretending to be a string quintet, perform for Mrs Wilberforce’s cooing friends, and plenty of crowd-pleasing slapstick.
At its best, it’s slick, full of visual gags and makes creative use of the nooks and crannies in the lopsided set.
But in places this momentum drops and some of the comic gestures, and even lines, get lost in a theatre of this size.
This production would work better in a smaller, more intimate space.