The wistful Ealing Comedy film The Ladykillers as re-imagined by Graham Linehan (Father Ted, Black Books) has played to packed houses this week at Dewsbury Arts Group’s Artspace.
Mrs Wilberforce, a gentle old lady played to subtle perfection by Carol Ward, lets her upstairs room to “Professor” Marcus (an unnerving Richard Brook) and his four criminal associates who pose as a string quartet.
The briskly military Mark Bailey as the colonel, the engaging Iain Winstanley as the teddy boy, the comically pitch perfect Tony Fox as the Dullard and the studied menace of Ben Telford as the Romanian outsider together gave a consummate ensemble performance.
When Mrs Wilberforce learns of the gang’s bank raid and her unwitting part in it, the gang decide to kill the lady.
However, it does not quite turn out like that.
The set on two levels, along with sound effects of steam trains passing by, created the appropriate claustrophobic atmosphere whilst people only bumped into each other when they were meant to.
Whilst Linehan has not been too radical in his re-imagining, there seemed to be plenty of tea on offer and the ladies (two in drag) gathered for the gang’s concert looked suspiciously like a Mrs Doyle convention.