The Royle Family star Little, Gregory's Girl actor John Gordon Sinclair and Shakespeare in Love's Day are among the ensemble cast in the new show which also includes theatre veterans Con O'Neill, Chris MCCalphy and Angela Thorne.
The play, about a group of criminals who pose as amateur musicians to take a room in the house of an eccentric old lady, opened at London's Vaudeville Theatre on Tuesday (09Jul13) and it convinced even the toughest critics to crack a smile.
Charles Spencer of Britain's Daily Telegraph insists the new production, adapted for the stage by Father Ted writer Graham Linehan, is "even funnier" than the original 1955 movie on which it is based.
He writes, "The great thing about the film is that it is at times genuinely chilling as well as hilarious... (This) hugely enjoyable stage production... never quite matches the creepiness of the original. I would venture to suggest, however, that it is even funnier than the movie."
The Guardian's Michael Billington praises the show's move into "slapstick" comedy, while Mark Shenton of industry publication The Stage describes the production as a "giddy summer delight that provides plenty of good reasons for theatregoers to go indoors again" and he also praises the "stellar cast" and "infinite skills" of the actors.
The opening night audience was packed full of famous faces including actress Sheridan Smith and Spooks star Rupert Penry-Jones, who turned out to support his mother Angela Thorne, as well as comedienne Victoria Wood and Simon Day's The Fast Show co-star Paul Whitehouse.