May 27, 2022 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

REVIEW: “Arsenic and Old Lace”

The cast of “Arsenic and Old Lace” All photos by Enci Box

Playwright Joseph Kesserling first dreamed up his play “Arsenic and Old Lace” back in 1939. It was originally conceived as a dark drama based on the true story of a woman by the name of Amy Archer-Gilligan, who took in boarders and then poisoned them for their pensions.

However, thanks to the genius of collaborators Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, they quickly turned the drama into a comedy and created the roles of Abby and Martha Brewster – two elderly aunts – who would do the requisite bumping off.

Roping in Boris Karloff as a lunatic killer to play the role of wayward Brewster nephew Jonathan, who is constantly referred to as looking just like Boris Karloff, was a stroke of genius. The show played to rave reviews and the 1944 Frank Capra film of the same name starring Cary Grant was also a massive hit.

L-R:Jacque Lynn Colton as Martha Brewster, Sheelagh Cullen as Abby Brewster, J.B. Waterman as Mortimer Brewster

And in 2017 at the Odyssey, the play has lost none of its luster, thanks to terrific ensemble casting and a deft hand by director Elina de Santos, who never lets the action flag.

It’s a joy to watch the pas de deux unfold between the murderous aunts, played to perfection by Sheelagh Cullen and Jacque Lynn Colton. Their sweet, frail demeanors coupled with their genuine desire to help assuage their elderly boarders’ loneliness (by sending them into the next world with some potent elderberry wine), makes it impossible not to fall in love with them.

Alex Elliot-Funk as the hapless Teddy Brewster who thinks he’s President Roosevelt, manages to steer his character away from an all too easy caricature, so that his constant trips to “Panama” (aka the cellar), and his endless bounding up and down the stairs yelling “Charge,” are humorous, yet tinged with an element of sadness.

Nephew Mortimer Brewster, in the hands of J.B. Waterman, is a study in falling apart as he moves from disbelief to complete apoplexy when he realizes what the aunts are up to.

Gera Hermann as the mad murderer Jonathan Brewster is completely up to the task (and a fine Boris Karloff look-alike), when the plot thickens as he returns to the house with his own dead body.

Ron Bottitta as Dr. Einstein, Michael Antosy as Officer O’Hara, J.B. Waterman as Mortimer Brewster and Gera Hermann as Jonathan Brewster

As the mayhem ensues with Jonathan and the aunts trying to one-up each other on who has killed the most people, the cast comes together to ratchet up the comedy. Special mention to Michael Antosy as Officer O’Hara who just wants a literally captive Mortimer to listen to the play he’s written.

The beautiful tri-level set with period furnishings and props sets the scene perfectly, and subtle lighting and sound make for a wonderful two hours and 20 minutes at the theatre.

 

Arsenic and Old Lace

Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

Runs through Oct. 8

2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., 90025

Tickets: www.OdysseyTheatre.com or 310-477-2055, ext. 2

 

 

 

Related Posts

How to Make Your Writing Sound More Professional and Sophisticated

April 6, 2022

April 6, 2022

As a writer, your job is to communicate clearly and effectively with your audience. But as a writer, you also...

The Future of Online Shopping

March 30, 2022

March 30, 2022

Imagine that you need a couple of ingredients to make pizza for dinner, but realize that you don’t have any...

Most Beautiful College Campuses in California

March 29, 2022

March 29, 2022

Are you about to go on your first collegiate tour of the state of California? Interested in relocating to one...

Can You Play Live Dealer Casinos from California?

March 23, 2022

March 23, 2022

The Golden State has a rich history of gambling, dating back to the 19th century. It is the nation’s largest...

Colorado’s Gambling History & Current Overview

March 17, 2022

March 17, 2022

Gambling is when one or more individuals puts something at stake in the hopes of winning another item of more...

Stunning Music Academy in Brentwood will celebrate its Grand Opening, Sunday, February 20th.

February 18, 2022

February 18, 2022

Introducing the second location of the highly successful Angeles Academy of Music, which has become an icon of Westwood Village.  ...

7 Great Reasons to Visit NYC This Spring

January 31, 2022

January 31, 2022

Arguably the most famous destination in the world, New York City welcomes millions of people from all over the globe...

Best Horse Racing Tracks Near Los Angeles

November 29, 2021

November 29, 2021

Los Angeles, and in particular California, is a hot spot for tourism throughout the year. However, many that visit the...

Breakfast Republic Opening Culver City Location

October 20, 2021

October 20, 2021

Westside Dining Scene October 21, 2021 By Dolores Quintana Breakfast Republic, the popular breakfast restaurant chain from San Diego, will...

Community Volunteer Patrol Program Brings Civilians New Insight Into Law Enforcement

October 19, 2021

October 19, 2021

The West LA Police Department has a community patrol program bridging the gap between civilians and law enforcement. Video brought...

Tito’s Tacos and Tito’s Vodka Teaming Up

September 30, 2021

September 30, 2021

Westside Dining Scene, September 30, 2021 By Dolores Quintana Tito’s Tacos and Tito’s Vodka Teaming Up Titos’s Tacos, as reported...

The Benefits of Label Printing for SMBs

September 10, 2021

September 10, 2021

As a business owner or entrepreneur in Los Angeles, you’ve thought of everything: the concept of your product, its ingredients,...

Using a 3D Printer to Design Casino Buildings in Canada

September 1, 2021

September 1, 2021

3D printing is a new phenomenon and indeed many people have never even heard of it. However, when you watch...

The British Shorthair Cat Origins And Facts

August 31, 2021

August 31, 2021

Before adopting a dog or a cat, as a potential pet owner, research the different breeds that might be perfect...

Final Weekend of Marina Drive-In Movie Summer Series With New Movies Added

August 28, 2021

August 28, 2021

WHERE: Marina del Rey Boat Launch Ramp, 13477 Fiji Way at Parking Lot #2 COST: $20 per vehicle, per movie...