FOLLOWING the co-production with New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, and Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, on last year’s smash-hit new play Worst Wedding Ever, Salisbury Playhouse has co-produced another genius play with The Ladykillers.

When Mrs Wilberforce advertises a “Room to Let” she’s delighted when odd Professor Marcus deems it perfect for rehearsing his strange string quintet. She soon discovers she’s not just making tea for musicians, but harbouring a gang of bizarre criminals and conmen planning a robbery.

As a gorgeous revival of a classic Ealing Comedy, this stylishly quirky play nails the filmic genre of Ealing’s traditional treatments of British eccentricities, humour, and occasional darkness, featuring Passport to Pimlico, Whisky Galore!, and the brave protest against the 1960s Beeching butchery rail cuts The Titfield Thunderbolt.

As almost always with Salisbury Playhouse, the stage set design is extraordinarily magnificent, this time created by award-winning Richard Foxton. The house revolves and opens up, with railway line signals, ladders on the roof, and a seedy gothic surrealistic atmosphere, featuring terrifying sound effects.

Among a cast of seven superb actors – and an impressive community chorus – particularly outstanding are Steven Elliot as holding-it-all-together Professor Marcus, Ann Penfold as the brilliantly perceptive Mrs Louisa Wilberforce, and Damian Williams as One-Round displaying phenomenal comic timing.

Also wonderfully entertaining is Marcus Houden, playing not only the 1950s policeman Constable MacDonald but also Mrs Jane Tromleyton, the feisty leader of the Community Chorus.

Runs until November 18, matinees Thursdays and Saturdays.

Brendan McCusker