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In this production, an adaptation of the film (which was in black and white) there was plenty of pace and colour, within a script that had gentle humour with laugh out loud fun, and the cast created some good and diverse characters.
The set was well-
Lighting and sound were both good – and I thought the lighting during the trains rushing past created the right feel. The sound was perhaps a little loud for the first couple of trains, but seemed to be more reasonable during the remainder of the play. I liked the red flash lighting for when the Professor was killing Louis – very atmospheric.
The only thing I would have liked to have given more thought to was the removal of items from the bedroom, rather than taking them up and down the stairs, which was rather cumbersome – for my money I would have looked at using the window to remove the instruments etc – as it appeared big enough, and would have solved the rather untidy scene setting with stage crew rushing up and down the stairs – but otherwise all was well accomplished.
There were excellent characterisations – with Richard Garrett leading the way with his portrayal of the mastermind Professor Marcus. He got a real depth of character, with some strength, quietness and the way you could see mind ticking over and trying the solve the twists and turns to make his plan work. Richard was lively and entertaining.
Val Mills created the lovely old lady, Mrs Wilberforce, she looked the part, and gave us a charming but steely character.
Dave Hillman was the local policeman, Constable MacDonald, very gently nursing Mrs Wilberforce along, disbelieving her supposed fantasies – nicely achieved.
Martin Pursey played the bumbling, nervous Major Courtney really well, it suited his acting style, and got a good contrast to the other characters.
Harry Robinson was played extremely well by Iain Houston – the wide boy, popping his pills and generally lifting the feel with his inconsequential chatter – nicely done.
I loved Dave Sims ‘One Round’ – so inherently stupid, but underneath caring for Mrs ‘Lopsided’, but a devil when roused!! I watched Dave and he kept the blank expression throughout, even when the action wasn’t centred on him – very good.
Alan Clarke once again gave us a very insightful portrayal of Louis the Rumanian hard man, who hated old ladies. I thought that Alan needed to be a little more forceful in his delivery, I got the fact that he was the dark and brooding gangster type – and he certainly looked the part. The accent was very good.
Nice to see Sally Welsh back on stage – albeit in a very small role – but she never fails to give whatever she does her all.
It was a shame that Sally and her two companions were so side on – just a little more slanted and we would have appreciated their facial expressions during the modern musical performance!! As what I could see was very telling, but I would have liked to have seen more.
I must mention General Gordon – the sick parrot – voiced very well by Lynda Fagan.
In some places the cast could have projected more, but I liked the comparisons of the portrayals, Malcolm Farrar always has a good insight into how to get the best out of his characters, and thus created a very interesting as well as funny evening’s entertainment. Nice to have a play one could just sit back and enjoy.
My thanks to Griffins for their hospitality – and hope it was a successful production
for the Society – it was certainly a triumph for the feel-
“THE LADYKILLERS” review date: 19th Sept 2014
LUTON LIBRARY THEATRE, LUTON
Director: Malcolm Farrar