As director Jan Copsey says, the world needs cheering up at the moment.
“Everybody is in need of a good laugh” – and that’s what she is going to provide with the Funtington Players next production, The Ladykillers by Graham Lineham from the motion picture screenplay by William Rose.
“I am really pleased with the way it is shaping up, but it is such a hybrid really. People are so used to motivations, thinking ‘Why is my character doing this right now?’ But with this, you don’t ask questions like that. We are just presenting it as something not rooted in reality. I just said to the cast last night ‘The whole world needs cheering up right now’, and that’s what we are going to do. This is Ealing comedy meets the Marx Brothers meets Miss Marple... and I think we are now ready for an audience!”
The tale is famously that of a bunch of crooks who move in with a little old lady under the pretence they are a group of classical musicians.
“In this version, the original story has been reworked by Graham Lineham. It was in London and had a big success and had Peter Capaldi in the cast.”
For most people, the film is the ready point of reference.
“Everybody has fond memories of the black-and-white film, and when I read through the script, I thought I would have a look at the old DVD. I remembered it as a comedy, as very funny, but I was quite surprised how dark it was, much darker than I remembered. There is still a hint of darkness at the core of this upgrade and there is still a hint of the macabre, but it still has the heart of the comedy. But it has collided with something else. The characters have been exaggerated, and there is now a descent into madcap farce if you can call it that.
“The back stories have been added to a lot of the characters now, except perhaps Professor Marcus. He still remains controversial. Is he insane or is he a genius!
“But the major is now a closet transvestite and the punch-drunk boxer... well, he is pretty much the same as in the film.
“But the Cockney spiv now takes uppers and downers, and when the pills kick in, he gives vent to his obsessive-compulsive tendencies with obsessive cleaning. And none of that is in the film!
“Directing has been complicated from the blocking point of view, but we have got an extension to our stage which we have made into the upstairs area, and the back wall has the window that looks out onto the train tracks.”
But the good news is that it has all come together beautifully. Jan and the cast are now chomping at the bit to get the show out there in front of an audience.
Performances will be at West Ashling Village Hall from November 22-26 inclusive.
Tickets are available from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/funtingtonplayers.
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