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The Ladykillers: Q&A with director, Molly Rose

Rehearsals for our upcoming production of classic black comedy, 'The Ladykillers' are in full swing! While the cast is busy treading the boards, we spoke to director, Molly Rose to get an insight into why she wanted to bring these particular lady killers to the stage!

Before we start, some history! The Ladykillers is a very funny comedy adapted from a 1955 Ealing comedy film by William Rose, It was adapted into a play in 2011 and enjoyed a great Westend run featuring Peter Capaldi and Ben Miller. Now, over to director Molly!

Director of The Ladykillers poses in a field of heathers
Molly Rose, Director, 'The Ladykillers'

Are you related to the screenwriter?

Same surname but unfortunately no relation

When Did You Join Newstagers?

I joined Newstagers in October 2021 as a post-COVID resolution, and I haven't looked back.

Have you directed before?

I have acted in a couple of Newstagers pantomimes and directed for Scene Unseen but this is my first time directing a big play with the group, which is as terrifying as it is exciting.

What is the show about?

It’s a deathly funny play, about a delightfully dotty but kind woman who seemingly rents out a room in her lopsided to an eccentric group of talented amateur musicians. But these musicians are a gang of criminal misfits who have money, amongst other things on their minds.

We're hooked! Give us the low down on the characters.

We have the lovely Mrs Wilberforce (played by Vanessa Marchant) who is kind and trusting with a weakness for conspiracy theories. There is the Genius Professor Marcus (Dominic Kendrick), who is as charming as he is sinister and leads his band of robbers. Joining Marcus is the smooth-talking Major (Eamonn O'Reilly), One Round (Richard Allport), who has taken one too many punches to the head, the hostile hitman Louis (Colin Sheehan), the cheeky young con artist Harry ( Luke O'Reilly), and rounding up the cast is the ever polite Constable Macdonald (Rory Hardisty).

Why Did you choose the show?

After watching The Importance of Being Earnest when I was younger I completely fell in love

Molly directs cast members Vanessa and Eamonn.
Killing it at rehearsals

with satire and farce and this was only compounded when I discovered The Play That Goes Wrong. I love a play that contains both witty verbal comedy, black humour, and physical comedy and Ladykillers perfectly fits this bill. It’s a play with so much to do for all involved both on and off stage. I wanted a play I could sink my teeth into as a director and boy have I got what I asked for! Without giving too much away it is a play filled with laughs, fistfights, and the need for impeccable comic timing.

What is your favourite thing about the play?

How funny it is, I have read it about 1 billion times now and I am still finding it as funny as the first time I watched it. It toes the line of black humour perfectly, it is stuffed-to-the-brim funny but also manages to be wholesome and endearing.

Who is your favourite character?

My answer changes almost weekly but I have a soft spot for Louis, he is one of the most complex characters and I love that we get glimpses of different sides of him.

What is your favourite moment of the play?

Well that would be a massive spoiler but my favourite moment happens somewhere in Act 2

Is the play the same as the film?

Whilst the play is based on the film it does differ slightly, the idea is followed but the details are changed. If you are a fan of the film then you are in safe hands with the play but it will also be a fresh and exciting watch. It is the same but different.

In the play, Mrs. Wilberforce loves classical music, do you?

I am ashamed to admit I do not, I do love a musical though and that is the same thing!

Do you Play an instrument?

I do not, I would be just as bad as Marcus and his crew.

The cast of The Ladykillers pose for a selfie in front of the stage, while at rehearsals
Ladykillers cast at rehearsals

If you could play anyone in the play who would you be?

I think I would do a great job of playing ex-boxer One Round ( for context I am 5ft 1).

The most challenging thing about the play?

The ability to make it all look effortless. There are so many elements involved and every member of the cast is working really hard but if on show nights we can make it look like we have barely broken a sweat then we have all done our jobs.

Actually, scratch that, it's fitting five adult men and their instruments (no pun intended) onto half the side of our very small stage, it’s like fitting an elephant into a fridge.

What are you enjoying the most about directing The Ladykillers?

All the new skills I get to learn, I now know how to make trick hats, a touch of stage combat, and how to wire lamps. I also now know that violins come in many different sizes, fascinating!

Why should people come to see it?

If all the reasons above aren’t reason enough then I don’t know what will convince you.

Is it kid-friendly?

Maybe leave them at home for this one! But bring your friends... they'll love it!

When is it on?

25th -28th October, a wonderful comedy thriller in the run-up to Halloween.

For more information about the show and to get your tickets, click here.


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