Linehan rewrites The Ladykillers

Stage adaptation of Ealing classic

Father Ted co-creator Graham Linehan has rewritten the classic Ealing comedy The Ladykillers for the stage.

A top-line cast including Peter Capaldi, Ben Miller and the Vicar of Dibley’s James Fleet will take key roles in the show, which will open in the West End in December following a run in Liverpool.

‘All these names, I’m just delighted because I like all of them,’ Linehan told Chortle.

The Thick Of It’s Capaldi will take the role of the charmingly sinister gang leader Professor Marcus, played originally by Alec Guinness.

He said the challenge to adapt a film was too compelling to refuse. He recalls ‘[The producers] met me, and they said, “You like The Ladykillers don’t you? Could be funnier though couldn’t it?” And I just thought that was a brilliant pitch.

‘Because it’s an odd film, in that it’s got a wonderful shape, that slightly fairytale, dreamlike quality to it, and all these fantastic bold archetypes… but it doesn’t have as many zingers as you remember.’

He says he wanted to make the stage version very much his own. ‘I wanted the film to haunt the play rather than it be a transcription,’ he said.

The stage production - which coincides with the 80th anniversary of Ealing Studios – will be directed by Sean Foley, whose credits include the Morecambe and Wise show The Play What I Wrote.

Click here to read Chortle’s interview with Linehan.

Published: 5 Jun 2011

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