Mini-review – Ladykillers – Gielgud Theater

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Given this play opened months and months ago, it’s rather sad that it’s taken me so long to get to see it. However, it’s been a budget conscious time for me and I was waiting for discounted tickets to come up. Sadly, when they appeared, it was around the same time as the closing date was announced (April 14th) – but at least I knew there was no more time for fooling around, especially with LastMinute running a “dinner and show” deal for 25 quid. And now it’s running for just a few more days (until April 14th) and all shows are 19.50 each (discount at checkout) ….

So what I need to say is this is a FUN show. It’s not really deep and the performances aren’t about giving you insight into the human soul. It’s overacted a bit but with everyone pitching in to be just a little too much at the same time it adds up to a very positive effect in that it’s meant to make you laugh. And it did! I liked the silly gawping, I liked the cute doddering little old lady, I liked the constant dangling muffler around the male lead’s neck that seemed to be a long set up for punchline that did eventually arrive. In fact, much of the show seemed to be setting us up for jokes that would show up later (except for the strange presence of men in drag during the old ladies’ classical music concert).

Two things made this show extra outstanding for me. One was the set, which unfolded like a Chinese puzzle and had a final configuration that completely baffled me – where had they been hiding it all this time? The second was the wonderful performance of Clive Rowe, who, as the “dumb” one of the gang, was given a star turn in his final scene that included a show-stopping performance of “Silver Hair Among the Gold” (with a knife in his head) that really let him show off his pipes. I won’t say that it alone was worth the price of the ticket but it was really a high point for me. And at the end of the night, with the group of eight I’d brought with me, I didn’t need to give a single word of apology – we had all had a lovely evening.

(This review is for a performance that took place on March 19th, 2012. I had never seen the movie upon which this show was based and I still had a good time. Not for those who want to leave the theater with further insight into the human condition.)

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