The Ladykillers at Harbour Theatre

A STAGE adaptation written by the man responsible for The IT Crowd, Black Books and Father Ted is coming to Harbour Theatre.

The Ladykillers, a 1955 black comedy film starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, was re-worked by sitcom writer Graham Linehan for the stage in 2011.

Five inept, would-be bank robbers set up camp in a little old lady’s home to plan their next big heist and pose as a musical group to put her off the scent.

When she learns the truth, chaos ensues as the criminals try to bump her off through various means – but the lady has more than a few tricks up her sleeve.

“I saw the film one Saturday afternoon about 10 years ago and immediately wondered if there was a stage script for it,” director Jo Sterkenburg said.

“I loved the whole premise and mood of it and could see it translating to the stage.

“As it turned out, a script had been written and performed in the UK to rave reviews, so I was hooked.

“I started requesting the rights in 2016 but they were unavailable until 2019 when another company managed to get them – that production didn’t go ahead and then COVID hit but I finally got the good news last year I had the rights to do the show.”

First becoming involved in theatre more than 40 years ago in Quairading, Sterkenburg joined Harbour Theatre in 1981 and has been involved as an actor, director, stage manager, lighting and sound operator and make-up artist in a plethora of productions.

She has also performed at Melville Theatre and has numerous best actor and supporting actor awards to her credit.

Most recently, Sterkenburg directed the Nordic noir horror Let The Right One In, scoring awards for best play and best technical achievement.

The Ladykillers has its own technical challenges – the script calls for a revolving stage but Harbour Theatre is unable to build one in its current location.

“To get around this, my husband and I have built a set on two levels so we could have a staircase and an upstairs room,” Sterkenburg said.

“We also needed a cupboard under the room to hold five burly men, plus we’ve had to source three violins and a cello and a working gramophone!”

The Ladykillers plays at 7.30pm August 26, 27, 31, September 2, 3, 7, 9, 10 and 11 with 2pm matinees August 28, September 4 and 11. Tickets are $25.50, $23.50 concession and $20.50 students – book at www.TAZTix.com.au or call TAZTix on 9255 3336.

Harbour Theatre is located at 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park.

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