Capital Critics' Circle
Le cercle des critiques de la capitale

Reviewing Theatre in Canada's Capital Region
La critique théâtrale de la région Ottawa-Gatineau

Some strong performers highlight ambience of gentility in Arsenic and Old Lace

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

 

Photo: Maria Vartanova

A small glass of elderberry wine seems an appropriately genteel alcoholic drink for two kindly old ladies to serve potential lodgers — except when it is laced with arsenic and spiced with strychnine and cyanide.

Even those who have never seen a stage production or of Joseph Kesselring’s 76-year-old dark comedy Arsenic and Old Lace or watched the Frank Capra movie (shot in 1941 and released in 1944) are familiar with parts of the tale of the charitable Brewster sisters, who dispatched lonely gentlemen and then gave them a Christian burial in the basement of their home. (Continue reading » )

Arsenic and Old Lace: A fun night at the theatre delivers laughs

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Photo: Maria Vartanova

We often make jokes about that which scares or hurts us the most. It’s a way many of us cope with a world that can often feel needlessly cruel and absurd. It’s because of this need to laugh in the face of darkness that a comedy such as Joseph Kesselring’s play Arsenic and Old Lace has such an enduring quality.  After all, there’s something strangely captivating about discovering the layer of rotten silt under a veneer of respectability. The Ottawa Little Theatre’s production  of Arsenic and Old Lace, directed by Brian Cano, is a delightfully relaxing romp, despite its dark plot. There are some minor issues with pacing, but its combination of adept directing, brilliant acting, and sumptuous sets make for a cozy evening at the theatre. (Continue reading » )