KNOCKING 'EM DEAD WITH DARK HUMOUR
When: Tuesday, February 12, to Saturday, February 16, 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees 2.30pm
Where: Hull New Theatre, Kingston Square, Hull
To book: 01482 300300
This Friday Mexican night at The Black Bull, Burton Pidsea, Two...View details
Indulge with our delicious range of specially selected Mexican dishes available from 5pm to 8:30pm this Friday 21st June. Traditional evening menu also available.
Terms: Friday the 21st June only, from 5pm to 8:30pm. Minimum 2 people dining.
Contact: 01964 770402
Valid until: Saturday, June 22 2013
Making a killing: The Ladykillers was released in 1955. The film was one of the Ealing Comedies, a series of films produced by the Ealing Studios during the 1940s and 1950s.
The cast: Big name stars, including Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom, were among the cast, which also included an early role from Frankie Howerd as "an agitated barrow-boy".
Remake: While the original film was acclaimed as one of the finest comedies ever made, the 2004 Coen Brothers remake – which set the film in the American Deep South – was panned by the critics.
She came to fame as the long-suffering wife of Frank Spencer. These days, Michele Dotrice has murder in mind, as she tells Will Ramsey
M ichele Dotrice cannot forget Hull. While starring in Romeo & Juliet, the actress became fearful her co-lead was a mass murderer.
"It was when the Yorkshire Ripper was in all the headlines," said Michele.
"They'd released a sketch of the suspect – and the actor playing Romeo was the spitting image. I think he wondered why I stopped speaking to him."
Decades on, the Some Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em star has returned to Hull for a comedy with a murderous twist.
The actress is starring in The Ladykillers as Mrs Wilberforce – the sweet, but strict, landlady of a small boarding house.
Based on the classic Ealing comedy, it sees a group of criminals, posing as amateur musicians, renting rooms from Mrs Wilberforce and trying to implicate her in a planned heist.
As a fan of the 1955 film, which starred Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, Michele was eager to take part. That the script was by Graham Linehan, the co-creator of TV comedy Father Ted, was a sweetener.
Michele said: "It's fun to play an older woman. I have a dowager's hump and sagging bosoms, which is all padding, and not me!"
"Graham Linehan has done a wonderful job on the adaptation. It is very true to the film, and very much of the 1950s.
"He's got that amazing record of Father Ted behind him, so there are laughs every ten seconds with this.
"He has constructed the characters beautifully, with a twist. The first half is very funny, but by the second half it becomes darker – certain people start disappearing."
The role has allowed Michele, who has starred in the production since its initial West End run, to add her own personality.
"I try to inject a bit more humour but she is still this dear old thing, who doesn't initially believe the nefarious things that are going on around her," she said.
"She is innocent in that respect, which is the key to the character.
"I think there has been a big resurgence of the Fifties era in the theatre of late and it is popular because of that innocence.
"We are so world-weary these days. To see a yarn about five men who end up in the most appalling mess because they cannot kill an old woman appeals to people."
The actress is used to tickling the nation's funny bone. Between 1973 and 1978, Michele starred as Betty, the long-suffering wife of Frank Spencer, played by Michael Crawford, in Some Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em.
She said: "It still goes out, so it now appeals to a new generation who are discovering a very important part of my life.
"I'm extremely proud of it and it happened so early in my career, it made me a household name."
Cleethorpes-born Michele, whose parents were both on stage, has now seen her daughter, Emily, take up the family calling.
She said: "It is lovely seeing myself through her and I am very proud of her, though there's not the same opportunities now that I had.
"There were repertory theatres all over the country where you could learn your craft and make a fool of yourself. These days there are very few plays on television, so I was very fortunate – I had the background, the support, and the opportunities."