New Braunfels is blessed with a top-rate local theatre (Circle Arts Theatre) and director, Roberta Elliott. With very talented actors and singers, we have never been disappointed with any play we have seen. Last fall the theatre underwent a complete renovation and it turned out fantastic!
Last week we attended the opening of “Arsenic & Old Lace” with our daughter and son-in-law, who had never seen the 1944 movie with Cary Grant, which is on our Top Ten list. (He didn’t even know who Peter Lorre was! Yikes, we’re getting old!) It was another excellent production of the play about a very eccentric family, the Brewsters, in Brooklyn, NY, who live next door to a cemetery and church. Donna Griffin did a superb job as Abby Brewster, an elderly spinster who lives with her spinster sister, Martha (played by Ryla Wolfe), and a mentally-challenged nephew, Teddy (played perfectly by Mike Paschall), who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt, yelling “CHARGE!” each time he runs up the stairs and considers the cellar to be the Panama Canal.
The fun begins when the youngest nephew, Mortimer (played hilariously by Randy Foerster) visits and happens upon a dead body in the windowseat. Thinking that it was Teddy who killed the man, he tells his aunts that they must commit Teddy to Happydale Sanitarium right away. They laugh and enlighten him that the body is one of their “gentlemen,” who they poisoned out of kindness. This appalling news thwarts Mortimer’s wedding plans with the preacher’s daughter, Elaine (Sara Salas), next door. While Mortimer tries to figure out what to do, he must leave for his assignment at the theatre. The sisters tell Teddy there is another “yellow fever victim” and, after digging a “lock” for the canal, he removes the body from the windowseat.
In the meantime, a third nephew, sinister Jonathan (played convincingly by Robert Bergeron), arrives with a Frankenstein face, a nervous Dr. Einstein (Rusty Brockman; Peter Lorre’s part), and a dead body, which they place in the windowseat. The aunts are shaken up by this intrusion into their home by their unwelcome, menacing nephew. When Mortimer returns, he is none too pleased either, especially when he finds a different body in the windowseat and assumes his aunts have been at it again.
Kudos to Roberta Elliot and the cast and crew of “Arsenic & Old Lace!” Thank you very much for a delightful evening.
For further information: http://circleartstheatre.org/ .