Monday, February 20, 2023


By Jane Primerano, Guest Reviewer

Graham Linehan’s The Ladykillers is a British romp brought to the Centenary Stage Company to delight audiences with its ridiculous antics.

Set in London’s King’s Cross, the play, finds the elderly Mrs. Witherspoon beset by a team of conmen posing as a string quintet. Their “rehearsals” are spent plotting a robbery.

The widow is renting a room in her old house by the tracks. Professor Marcus answers her ad and tells her he will be bringing his musicians over to practice in his room. A record player and a flipping blackboard serve to convert the rehearsal space to a haven for criminal discussions.

The motley crew of robbers consists of Major Courtney, a war “hero” with a penchant for cross-dressing; Louis the Romanian who doesn’t like old ladies; Harry, the young, enthusiastic and somewhat OCD thief; and the perennially dim One Round. The professor’s plan goes perfectly. Or so they think.

The Ladykillers is great fun presented by a fine crew of actors.

Mrs. Wilberforce is Colleen Smith Wallnau (far left) in a frankly terrible wig (probably the only thing unpleasant about the entire play, but quite possibly deliberate) and she is amazingly dotty, especially when dealing with General Gordon, a parrot. Or possibly a cockatoo, or maybe a macaw. The audience never sees him, he’s hidden under a cage cover spouting occasional kooky comments in a gravelly, Jimmy Durante voice.

The professor is an energetic and dapper Carl Wallnau (right), who also directs the play. The two play a continuous pas de deux with his ridiculously long scarf, which ends up having consequences.

The rest of the gang was perfectly cast. The Major is played by David Edwards, all twitchy neuroses in a tweed suit. Louis portrays David Sitler, tall, lean and ominous. Nick Bettens' Harry looks like a doo-wop singer and scurries about like a manic chipmunk. One Round is Connor McCrea a master of slow.

Mrs. Wilberforce’s house is another masterpiece of set design by Matthew Imhoff, complete with tipsy pictures on walls shaken by the passing trains.

A gaggle of minor characters, a constable and Mrs. Wilberforce’s ladies group are funny in the little they are given to do.

This is another one of CSC’s triumphs, don’t miss it.

The Ladykillers runs through March 5. Performance dates and times for are Thursdays, Feb. 23 and March 2 at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Feb. 24 and March 3 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Feb. 25 and March 4 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Feb. 19, 26 and March 5 at 2 p.m.; with special additional matinee performances at 2 pm on Wednesdays, Feb. 22 and March 1. Tickets range from $25 through $29.50 for adults with discounts available for seniors, students, and children under 12 for select performances and Thursday evening performances.

For tickets, visit or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979-0900. The Centenary Stage Company box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and two hours prior to performances.