Arsenic And Old Lace
22 January 2013
Gather two sweet old aunts, a few pints of poisoned Elderberry wine, a confirmed bachelor (he is a theatre crit too) rushing into marriage, his brothers; one who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt, the other who has a hobby of killing people to use their skin to change his appearance and a couple of dim US police officers.
Welcome to the 1940's to this farcical black comedy from Joseph Kesselring.
The thing I love about The People's Theatre is the lack of theatrical curtain, so upon entering the auditorium you can get a good feel of how the stage and scenery is even before you see any acting. This time around what greeted us was an impressive design of a typical 1940's townhouse.
Upon entering the stage the cute and cuddly Brewter sisters Abby and Martha look as though butter wouldn't melt in their mouths, and that you couldn't possibly believe what hobby they undertake (sic).
Teddy their nephew, who lives with them is convinced that he is Roosevelt, charging around the house, on his peace missions and conferences.
Mortimer the second nephew, is a theatre critic on his way to a big gig. After popping into to see his aunts place with his girlfriend, and keen marrying type, Elaine, his review of the situation is soo funny and frantic to say the least. When he comes face to face(another sic!) with his long time sent away brother Jonathan (and his own personal Dr) who back in the day had a nasty streak, the Arsenic and the Old Lace is set firmly into place.
It was great to get back to the People's after a while away, and what made this play special for me what the array of new actors to me. The People's always have a great pedigree of performers, who I see time after time. This is no bad thing, as I am always treated to a great night of superb acting, but always nice to feast my eyes up different actors now and then.
Karen Elliot and Marina Cornish, who between them served up a tasty treat of poison, great comedy and cuddliness, were superb from the start, they totally pulled off their characters whim and shruggish shoulders to a 'T'.
Bill Harrington, as Teddy was great as he paraded in his army and office garb, his part in his aunts hobby in the cellar was great to witness.
Simon Motie as the protective nephew, was equally as good as he flew from emotion to emotion. The interactions with Matthew Hope, who was superb as the the garish con-on-the-run Jonathan, was a joy to see, the sibling rivalry was all too clear to see.
Jonathan's in tow Dr, Dr Einstein was ably played by Kevin Jannette, who in my honest opinion took a remarkable similarity to Peter Lorre, the original Dr Einstein in the film version.
A noble mention to Reg White, who played the dim witted Officer O'hara, his portrayal of playwrite to be in the closing scenes were very good.
Great sound and light from Mike Cornish and Jerry Cooper/Catherine Edwards
Directed by Mary MacDonald
Only a couple of performances left after this review goes live, but great macabre fun from the Peoples Theatre clan. See it if you can.
Arsenic And Old Lace is performing until Saturday 26th