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Linehan's Ladykillers Come to West End, 7 Dec

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Father Ted author Graham Linehan's new adaptation of Ealing comedy The Ladykillers will open at the West End's Gielgud Theatre on 7 December 2011 (previews from 26 November) following a November run at Liverpool Playhouse.

Directed by Sean Foley, the production will feature an all-star cast that includes Peter Capaldi, James Fleet, Ben Miller, Clive Rowe and Stephen Wight with Marcia Warren as the unwitting widdow Mrs Wilberforce.

The Ladykillers, based on the 1955 BAFTA-winning comedy which starred Alec Guinness, sees the life of an eccentric little old lady turned upside down by an unlikely group of criminals. Planning the heist of a security van, they decide to use her as cover and involve her unwittingly in the plot. Things do not go well and start to unravel in spectacular and hilarious fashion.

As previously tipped, Alexander Mackendrick’s classic comedy, which was remade in 2004 by the Coen brothers, is being brought to the stage by a consortium led by Edward Snape, who is also the producer behind film-turned-show The 39 Steps. The Ladykillers has seen the stage once before, on a national tour in 1999, but Linehan now pens a totally new adaptation.

Linehan's television credits include comedy series Father Ted, The IT Crowd, Brass Eye, Blue Jam and Jam. He co-wrote the first season of Black Books with Dylan Moran and, collaborating with Arthur Mathews, has written material for Harry Enfield, Alexei Sayle, The Fast Show and Steve Coogan.

The cast for The Ladykillers will include James Fleet who recently appeared in The Heretic at the Royal Court; the BAFTA-winning star of The Thick of It Peter Capaldi; Ben Miller, best known as one half of the comedy duo Armstrong and Miller; Clive Rowe, whose West End credits include Guys and Dolls and The Fantasticks; and Stephen Wight who won the Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his appearance in Don Juan in Soho at the Donmar Warehouse.

The role of Mrs Wilberforce will be played by two-time Olivier Award-winning actress Marcia Warren.

Director Sean Foley's West End credits include Do You Come Here Often, Play What I Wrote, Ducktastic, Pinter’s People and Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress. Later this year Foley directs Kenneth Brannagh and Rob Brydon in the Lyric Belfast's production of The Painkiller, which he also adapted.

The Ladykillers will run from 3 to 19 November at Liverpool Playhouse prior to transferring to the West End.

Foley's productiong follows Lend Me A Tenor into the Gielgud Theatre. The musical, which opens on 15 June (previews from 2 June) was staged at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in 2010 and stars Matthew Kelly. It is currently booking through to 19 November 2011.

The Ladykillers has set and costume design by Michael Taylor, lighting design by James Farncombe, sound design by Ben and Max Ringham and special effects created by Scott Penrose.

It is presented by Edward Snape for Fiery Angel in association with Stage Entertainment UK and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse.


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