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An elderly, law-abiding widow threatens to scupper the getaway plans of a gang of small time crooks in Graham Linehan’s stage reworking of the classic 1955 Ealing comedy film.

Masquerading as a string quintet lead by Peter Capaldi’s incompetent mastermind, Ben Miller’s knife-wielding gangster with a pathological fear of old ladies, Stephen Wight’s pill-popping spiv with a furniture polishing fetish, Clive Rowe’s several sandwiches short of a picnic ex-boxer, and (best of all) James Fleet’s cross-dressing conman plot a robbery whilst pretending to practise.

There are some clever touches (model cars carry out the heist climbing up the walls of the revolving set) and a handful of running gags (involving a swivelling blackboard, a ridiculously long scarf, and the sheer incompetence of the criminals) which make for an enjoyable evening’s entertainment of slapstick and farce, in which you never for one moment believe that Marcia Warren’s fanciful Mrs Wilberforce will come to any harm in her lopsided house overlooking Kings Cross.

Shaftesbury Avenue
0844 482 5130
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Until April 14

- Louise Kingsley


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