Arsenic and Old Lace
24-28 April 2012
By Joseph Kesselring, Directed by Dianne Newby
Written in 1941, Arsenic and Old Lace is not only a classic comedy - it is a superb black comedy.
This type of humour relies on the presentation of distasteful ideas, such as death by poisoning, in such a way that the audience forgets to be appalled. The writing here is pure magic. The innocence of Abby and Martha is the key to its success. They have a very different view of life where charity certainly begins at home, but not in the conventional sense. Watching their nephew Mortimer struggle with his aunts' version of reality is, if you'll pardon the pun, killingly funny. His brother, Jonathan - of dubious mental state with a string of random murders to his name - and his sidekick, the dipsomaniac Dr Einstein, are treated as little more than a pair of wayward schoolboys. Add to the mix brother Teddy, who thinks he's President Roosevelt, a bemused fiancee and her father, four police officers (three of whom are not really that bright), a potential lodger and the superintendent of a sanatorium, and this great comedy is the result.
This play has stood the test of time, and is as funny now as when it was written. I have long loved this play, and have had a great time directing it.
Cast (in order of appearance)
Abby Brewster Stella Garside
The Rev. Dr Harper Alan Foale
Teddy Brewster Robert Colbeck
Officer Brophy Ben Robinson
Officer Klein Matthew Newby
Martha Brewster Pat Riley
Elaine Harper Rachel Newby
Mortimer Brewster Chris Andrews
Mr Gibbs Bernard Riley
Jonathan Brewster David Pritchard
Dr Einstein Gavin Jones
Officer O'Hara Jon Holmes
Lieutenant Rooney David Lancaster
Mr Witherspoon David Newby
Director Dianne Newby
Assistant Director Andrew Sneddon
Stage Manager Helen Duce
Assistant Stage Manager Ron Darby
Set Construction Mike Andrews, Ron Darby & members
Lighting Eric Wells
Props Beth Duce, Carol Crossfield
Wardrobe Ros Porteous
Prompt Vivien Bate
Front of House Anne Andrews, Alan Foale,
Trish Underwood and members
More production photos by Andy Sneddon and David Newby
Martha: "If I know what pure goodness and charity is..."
Teddy leads the charge up San Juan Hill (the stairs)
Officer Klein: "Not much to report, Mr President"
Abby & Martha learn Elaine is engaged to their nephew Mortimer
Mortimer: "I'm nuts about you!"
"There's a body in the window seat!"
Martha: "It's only our little amusement..."
Gibbs arrives, in search of some Brooklyn hospitality
Time for Teddy to inspect the locks...
Einstein: "I saw that movie too!"
O'Hara, unwittingly, gets close to the evidence
Einstein set to take a swig of the Elderberry. It's got a kick...
O'Hara: "They practically stole that from my play!"
Under arrest! Rooney, Brophy, Jonathan and Klein
The last glass of Elderberry wine
A break in the rehearsals
Director Dianne Newby (r) addresses the cast
Our prompt does her bit for police / community relationships
A rare moment of peace on the set
Ann Lightman's review of Arsenic and Old Lace
To appear in the June edition of parish magazine Adel Bells
"Just back from the opening night of Arsenic and Old Lace! What can I say? I and the people I was with thought it was utterly brilliant! So a huge well done to everyone involved, everything about it was excellent, from acting to set to costumes to music - it all worked really well. Thank you all for a super evening's entertainment." - OC
"Well done for last night's performance, it was very enjoyable." - MW
"I was there for Friday night's performance and let me tell you, it was spectacular! Incredible performances by all, amazing-beyond-words set and costumes." - AJ
"I attended the Saturday performance of Arsenic and Old Lace. I cannot tell you how enjoyable the evening was for me. The whole performance was exceptional and it is a testament of the hard work all of you have put into the production. Just a shame you have a summer rest. See you again in October. Just brill..." - AM
"Well done to the Adel Players for a terrific night's entertainment. 'Arsenic and Old Lace' was a hilarious romp, and some particularly impressive New Yoik accents for a bunch of Yorkshiremen! *****" - PT
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