By EVE FISHER
Your Local Court Jester
PETERBOROUGH — It’s almost difficult to put into words just how spectacular Peterborough Players’ production of Arsenic and Old Lace is. The show is a perfect union of a hilarious script and cast. Throw in a gorgeous set and a couple dummies and you get this delightfully murderous production of true comedic gold.
The play centers around Mortimer Brewster played by Peterborough Players staple Tom Frey.
Mortimer is a theatrical critic paying a visit one night to his two elderly aunts in the Brooklyn home where they raised him.
No sooner does he propose to the minister’s daughter living next door, played by Hope Milne, does he stumble across the fact that his dear sweet spinster aunts are murders, as an act of charity of course. Throw in a visit from a long lost relative with a resemblance to Boris Karloff, the digging of the Panama Canal and a very enthusiastic pitch from a police officer and you have Arsenic and Old Lace.
Written by Joseph Kesselring in 1939, the play originally ran on Broadway from 1941 through 1944. Kesselring loses no opportunities to poke fun at the theater world.
I could praise the writing all day, but the cast really did justice to every word written and really brought the story to life. Every character was able to grab your attention and every single one got a good laugh out of the audience.
David Haugen was a stand-out as “Teddy Roosevelt” Brewster as was Kraig Swartz as Dr. Einstein (no not that Einstein), a German plastic surgeon and companion to Mortimer’s creepy brother Jonathan, played by Doug Rees.
I’ll admit I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to see past the hilarious 1944 film version of Arsenic and Old Lace starring Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster, but Frey along with Joyce Cohen as Aunt Abby and Dale Hodges as Aunt Martha wiped that version from my mind and reminded me just how good the source material often is.
Arsenic and Old Lace is playing through the end of the month.
Performances Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m.
Tickets are $39 and a 6-ticket flex pass can be purchased for $204. Subscriptions are also available.