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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Arsenic and Old Lace lights up the stage

Published: March 17, 2006
Section: Arts, Etc.

This past weekend, Brandeis Players put on a production of Joseph Kesselrings Arsenic and Old Lace, directed, stage-managed, and produced by the extremely sexy trio of Michael Glicksman 08, Yarden Abukakis 09, and Pamela Leonard 06.

At the opening of the show, we meet the charming and seemingly innocent ladies, Abby and Martha Brewster, who have a certain fondness for a rather unusual pastime. They partake in the poisoning of potential boarders, if they meet a certain set of criteria, and then deposit their bodies in the basement with the help of Teddy Roosevelt. Or rather, their nephew whose delusional mind leads him to believe that he is, indeed, the former president.

To complete this set-up, add in his brother Mortimer, an uptight theater critic with a tag-along love interest, Elaine, who somehow manages to be slightly more uptight than he is, and then the thoroughly psychotic escaped convict brother of Teddy and Mortimer, who comes complete with German sidekick.

When all of the players come together, hilarity ensues and continues to run rampant for the duration of the play. The actors even maintained their momentum through two intermissions, one of the potential pitfalls of the show.

Arsenic and Old Lace is usually a just add actors endeavor, as many of the technical elements that the script calls for force the designers to stick to fairly standard designs. All this being said, the Brandeis Players production of the show proved to be an entertaining and original piece of theater.

Glickmans direction was neither obtrusive nor predictable and the designers succeeded in creating an aesthetically pleasing environment for the insanity of the show.

Martha, played by Molly Haas-Hooven 09, and Abby, played by Rebecca Kotlicky 06, had incredible chemistry on stage. The two highly skilled actresses continually delighted the audience with their antics.

The combination of Jonathan Brewster, Mortimers murderous brother, played by Zach Handler 09, and his plastic surgeon, Dr. Einstein, played by David Brown 09, was also one of the shows more humorous duos. The two brought a certain element of flamboyance and color to their characters in an enjoyable performance.

Overall, the show was certainly one of the funnier UTC productions that have gone up in a while.