arsenic and old lace

I occasionally read a classic novel, but not plays so often. Besides, plays are so much better seen at the theater than read or even watched on tv.

Yesterday, my mom, David, Amber and I saw Arsenic and Old Lace at the Brooke Hills Playhouse, the local community theater. It was funny, in a dark kind of way and the actors did a good job, as they always do.

The play revolves around Mortimer Brewster, a drama critic who must deal with his crazy, homicidal family and local police in Brooklyn, NY, as he debates whether to go through with his recent promise to marry the woman he loves. His family includes two spinster aunts who murder lonely old men, lonely because they don’t have any family to miss them, by poisoning them with a glass of home-made elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and “just a pinch” of cyanide; a brother who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt and digs locks for the Panama Canal in the cellar of the Brewster home (which then serve as graves for the aunts’ victims); and a murderous brother, Jonathan Brewster,  who has received plastic surgery performed by an alcoholic accomplice, Dr. Einstein to conceal his identity and now looks like Boris Karloff.

Joseph Kesselring wrote Arsenic and Old Lace in 1939 and play and opened on January 10, 1941 with Boris Karloff playing Jonathan, so that little joke would have been perfect. It was also adapted as a film starring Cary Grant and directed by Frank Capra. If you haven’t seen it and get a chance you definitely should.

Going to see a play or two is always on our list for the summer. And I’m determined to make it to the drive-in this year. What else should I put on my list? Do you have anything fun planned for the summer?


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