An all female cast took to the stage of the Lyric Theatre Belfast this week to portray some very shady characters. The result a funny, energetic piece of farce which is sure to make even the most stern audience member laugh. Jimmy Fays direction plays homage to Linehan’s genius stage script but at the same time re-invents the play into something even more modern, entertaining and interesting. (I haven’t watched the film so can’t make reference to it but now I feel like I should.) Lines of the script are reinforced with comedic timing and repetition, meaning they are sure to be stuck in the heads of the audience forever. My personal favourite “he just fell against the dress….”
The productions set by Stuart Marshall is in an absolutely fabulous creation with many levels and layers. Lots of space for some unique entrances and exits which just add to the drama and never disrupts the pace.
The Ladykillers is a shining example of exactly what I love to see on the Northern Irish stage something which has wide appeal and which gets the audience to interact/communicate with each other. Overheard at the interval lots of mutterings of isn’t this funny, I wonder if they can actually play. Basically a production that promotes a smile and giggle throughout gets a big thumbs up from me.
Although the production is a timely affair with a run time just shy of three hours I didn’t feel the minutes tick by. In fact I felt like I need to go back and watch it again, as at certain points I was concerned with the actions of characters in the background instead of the foreground and I feel like I may have missed out.
Stella McCusker plays the polite, overly suspicious Mrs Wilberforce constantly fighting to keep her social status and to look after her beloved parakeet ; Abigail Gibbon is the crafty Professor Marcus between her physicality, her exaggerated scarf and her natural charm she leads the rebel of unruly characters who tumble through Mrs Wilberforce’s front door.Julie Maxwell plays Harry, the OCD wide boy with the must amazing quiff but for me Jo Donnelly steals the show as the con-man Major Courtney, who seems to be a closet transvestite with no real grasp on reality but who would very quickly pull the wool of your eyes.Cheryl Fergison best known for her role in EastEnders comes across as the gentle giant One Round, an oaf who is very ignorant of the plot building around him but whom you would never want to wrong.
With added cameos from well-known faces at the Lyric; Christina Nelson and Nuala McKeever, the tale is brought to its crescendo with somewhat of a bump in the dark.
The Ladykillers was an enjoyable night in the Lyric and it was a pleasure to see some many female characters on stage.
Emer D xx
Running until the 8th July check out further details at http://www.lyrictheatre.co.uk