‘Arsenic and Old Lace’

‘Arsenic and Old Lace’

The Westerly Sun

WESTERLY — John Cillino as Cary Grant and David Jepson as Frank Capra? Well, yes, sort of. Stick with me.

“Arsenic and Old Lace,” the play once described as the “most popular in the world theatrical repertoire,” by drama critic Rob Nixon, opens Friday at the Granite Theatre and if you’ve never seen the rollicking who-done-it on stage, you’ll want to add it to your list of things to do this month.

Set in the early 1940s, ‘Arsenic’ tells the hilarious story of newspaper drama critic — and notorious anti-marriage columnist — Mortimer Brewster, who is eager to marry his fiancée, Elaine Harper, who happens to be the minister’s daughter. Elaine’s father, The Rev. Dr. Harper, objects to the idea

Standing between the lovebirds is the wackiest, weirdest bunch of characters imaginable.

But problems with his future father-in-law are mild ones for Mortimer, compared to his discovery of a dead body in the window seat of the home of his kindly spinster aunties, Abby and Martha, who raised him and his two brothers, Teddy, who believes himself to be Theodore Roosevelt, and long-lost Jonathan, who as a child tied Mortimer to the bedpost.

Movie buffs will remember of course, that Capra (“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”) directed the film version of the play which starred Cary Grant as Mortimer.



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