ARSENIC & OLD LACE
STILL A TOP COMEDY ATTRACTION
A Review by Larkin
Arsenic & Old Lace is a very funny play, in fact Joseph Kesselring's play is one of the classics of the comedic theater. Brad Sandy and his cast do a fine job of making the play hilarious.
From the Brewster sisters (Lita Sandy as Abby and Shelly McFadden as Martha) to the smallest character parts (Jim Rambo as Mr.Witherspoon and Clarence Long as Mr. Gibbs)they all do a mighty fine job.
The play takes place in the old Brewster home in Brooklyn in 1940.
The sisters really are insane, but it isn’t generally known at the beginning of the show. Their nephew Mortimer (Matt McClaine) finds out their secret -- they have 11 bodies buried in the cellar and a 12th in the window seat just waiting to be sent to his rest.
Meanwhile, Mortimer’s fiancee, Elaine Harper (Lori Briones), thinks she is going to marry him, but Mortimer kills the marriage after he finds out the bodies are buried in the cellar.
Mortimer's brother, Teddy (Michael McClaine) is also nuts because he thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy is an unwilling comrade in arms for the sisters. He is digging the Panama Canal in the cellar and he calmly buries the bodies, thinking they are yellow fever victims.
Then along comes Jonathan (Jack Randall Earles), the third brother, and his colleague, Dr. Herman Eisntein (Ric McFadden), who specializes and facial reconstructions - make that facial destructions. He has done Jonathan's face three times, only the last one appears to look like Boris Karloff.
Jonathan is the craziest of them all. Mortimer thinks he is bound to go insane himself, considering the family's peculiarities, so he thereby
gives up on Elaine.
A 13th body ends up in the window seat (thanks to Jonathan and Dr. Einstein), which leads to a long string of laughs for the audience as Mortimer and the sisters try to figure out what is going on. There seems to be one body too many.
One of the policeman in the play , Officer O'Hara (Brennan Barnes), finds out the Mortimer is a drama critic, and he springs his own play on Mortimer - just as Jonathan and Dr. Einstein have taken it upon themselves to shuffle Mortimer off this mortal coil.
All ends well at the curtain. Jonathan goes to an asylum for the criminally insane - he is an escapee from the institution, Teddy is going to Happy Dale Sanitarium along with the sisters and Mortimer comes back to Elaine -- but you'll find out at the very end how that happens.
Abby (Lita Sandy) and Martha (Shelly McFadden) do an excellent job, as does Mortimer (Matt McClaine). Jonathon (Earles) is particularly nasty and Dr. Einstein (Ric McFadden) is a genius but is particularly dense.
Jim Green, who plays the Rev. Dr. Harper and the officers, Barnes, Bryan Schroeder, Sandi Rossock, and Doug Gannaway all do their roles well.
The two persons I like the best are Clarence Long and Jim Rambo, who had the two smallest roles. Long was hilarious as the man who got way from being poisoned. And Rambo was very funny at the very end of the play.
Rossok was the assistant director; Sarah Dory was the stage manager; the technical director and light design was Schroeder. Shelly McFadden and Rossok did the costumes. Tiara Phillips ran the lights, Carrie Howe, Sarah McClaine, and Brenda McClaine ran the sound board.
Director Sandy designed the set.
Set construction was by Dory, Rambo, Schroeder, Lita Sandy, Sarah
McClaine, Rossok, Matt McClaine, Tyce Jackson, Briones and Brad Sandy.
Landes Costumes by Rachel helped with the costumes.
Corporate sponsor for the production was Old National Bank.