Corpsing threatens to pile as high as the corpses on the Newcastle bound train in this production of the The Ladykillers.
Based on the 1955 Ealing comedy that starred Alec Guinnes and Peter Sellers, The Ladykillers was described by Halliwell’s Filmgoers Companion as “memorable but somehow unlikable.” Such a description does not necessarily apply here, as this version, adapted to the stage by Graham Linehan from William Rose’s screenplay, is made memorable and somehow likeable by a cast that gleefully take the bull by the comic horns.
Director Walter Grkovic’s production is a far less sinister affair than the film.
The basic story remains the same. A self proclaimed Einstein of crime calling himself Professor Marcus, and his gang, hole up in a railway-line backed home of a little old lady to plot, plan and execute a bank heist.
Marty O'Neill is in fine fettle as the felonious philosopher, Professor Marcus, a prince of pilferers, charming, eloquent and pragmatic. “Who are the criminals, those who rob banks or those that found them,” he muses.
There’s not much honour but plenty of humour among the thieves of his motley crew. Stephen Doric delights in the cross dressing con man Major Courtney, Doug Wiseman as wild Harry, spaced out on speed and a compulsive cleaner. Paul Rye is One Round, ex pugilist, and the punch drunk muscle of the mob, Barry Nielsen is Louis, a knife wielding Romanian psychopath whose grasp of English is slippery, providing one of the best gags in the show. Pamela Whalan plays Mrs. Wilberforce as a cross between the bemused Margaret Dumont and the befuddled Margaret Rutherford, and character support stalwart, Rod Stewart, is the local plod Constable Macdonald, who may also like to frock up after hours.
Grant Fraser’s set design is a winner depicting a dwelling in disrepair with walls as cracked as its residents and Susan Carveth’s costumes are effective, eclectic and eccentric.
Genesian Theatre presents
by Graham Linehan
Director Walter Grkovic
Venue: Genesian Theatre | 420 Kent St, Sydney NSW
Dates: 18 January – 15 February 2020