One of the most successful periods of British cinema produced the famous Ealing comedy films of the 1950s.
They included probably the most loved example of the genre, The Ladykillers, starring Sir Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom. Set in 1956, it tells the story of a sweet little old widow who lives in a rundown house in Kings Cross.
When she lets a room out, it is taken by Professor Marcus, who claims to be the leader of a string quartet needing somewhere to rehearse. In reality, he’s the organiser of a criminal gang planning to rob a wages van at St Pancras and who can’t actually play any instruments! As with all Ealing comedies, nothing goes right with hilarious consequences.
In 2011, the script was re-written by Graham Linehan, best known as the writer of TV comedies like Father Ted. In its debut season, the production broke box office records at the Gielgud Theatre, won the 2013 WhatsOnStage.com Award for Best New Comedy and was nominated for five Olivier Awards in 2012. It closed after a successful and extended run after which it toured before returning to the West End in 2013.
This successful comedy now comes to Luton, produced by The Griffin Players and directed by Malcolm Farrar. It will be performed at Luton Library Theatre from September 18-20 and looks to be a sure-fire hit again.
With a cast that features Richard Garrett, Valerie Mills, Alan Clarke and Sally Welsh, it promises an evening of top entertainment. Malcolm said: “I have directed many comedy plays and musicals in my many years in theatre and I have to say this is the funniest I have ever had the pleasure to be involved with. The laughs continue page after page and, I’m delighted to say, are not crude! It is just a truly hysterical theatrical event, and one which the whole company have enjoyed creating.”
There has been an enormous amount of interest in the production, including from author Graham Linehan himself. The cast received a good luck card from him in which he told them: “Knock ‘em dead.” Malcolm added: “It is absolutely wonderful to have the backing of such a talented and creative writer.”
Tickets from the Library Theatre or at www.griffinplayers.co.uk