Actor William Troughton on Graham Linehan's The Ladykillers

The stage adaptation of the Ealing comedy classic also stars Shaun Williamson and Clive Mantle

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Actor William Troughton on Graham Linehan's The Ladykillers

Photo: Shaun Webb

Fans of The Ladykillers may have been sceptical when Graham Linehan’s stage adaptation of the film premiered last year. But the Father Ted creator’s version of the classic Ealing comedy – in which a gang of petty criminals occupy an old lady’s house as they plan to rob neighbouring King’s Cross station – has proved to be a big hit. It’s now embarking on a 24-destination UK tour, and will visit Scotland in November.

Despite its popularity, actor William Troughton – who plays cockney spiv Harry Robinson in the show – has never actually seen the original film. ‘I have great respect for the Ealing comedies,’ he says, ‘but I purposely didn’t watch it. I’m saving it for when I finish the tour.’

Instead, Troughton was drawn to The Ladykillers because of Linehan’s reputation. ‘I grew up with Father Ted and Black Books,’ he explains, ‘and his performance in Alan Partridge is one of my favourite scenes in a comedy series. I’m a huge fan.’

Like the West End cast – which featured Peter Capaldi and Ben Miller – the touring ensemble boasts great comedy calibre. Extras and ex-Eastenders actor Shaun Williamson plays gangster Louis Harvey, while The Vicar of Dibley’s Clive Mantle and Michele Dotrice – who played Betty in Some Mothers’ Do ‘Ave ‘Em – also appear.

Up-and-coming actor Troughton understudied the roles of Harry and Louis in the original West End run, and he’s convinced that the adaptation’s charm is the secret to its success.

‘I just think it’s so much fun,’ Troughton says. ‘Anyone that comes to see it will walk away with a smile on their face. It’s really silly, but it’s just fun and you care about the characters. For me, hearing the audience reaction every night is great. Hearing a thousand people laughing at the theatre, it’s so enjoyable.’

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Mon 5–Sat 10 Nov; His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, Mon 12–Sat 17 Nov; Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Mon 19–Sat 24 Nov.

The Ladykillers

Father Ted writer Graham Linehan's new adaptation of this black comedy about the battle between a little old lady and a gang of criminals.

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