For Mortimer Brewster life could not be better: the weather is fine, crime rates seem low, and despite his numerous and definitive books against matrimony, he’s getting married. Not only is he getting married, but his bride is the reverend’s daughter and veritable girl-next-door Elaine. With the wedding ceremonies concluded, Mortimer and Elaine make one quick stop before their honeymoon, their childhood homes. However, when Mortimer enters his elderly maiden aunts’ home and finds a corpse, the best day of his life takes a turn for the worst.
Originally destined to be a dark detective story, Arsenic and Old Lace might have been lost among a myriad of similar tales. Yet when playwright Joseph Kesselring took the advice of producers Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse and turned it into a farcical black comedy, he transformed it into something that stood out. Audiences will forever be grateful he did, with unconventional characters like Mortimer’s brother, Teddy Brewster, convinced he’s actually Theodore Roosevelt; Jonathan Brewster, a villain whose attempt at anonymity makes him utterly unforgettable; and, of course, the sweet-yet-homicidal Brewster aunts, who poison lonely old men with their elderberry wine containing arsenic, strychnine and “just a pinch” of cyanide. This play brings its own brand of humor you won’t want to miss.
In his debut as director on the main stage, Michael Hendrickson brings to the stage a cast of accomplished actors and several veteran directors who have tremendous acting chops.
Arsenic and Old Lace runs through Feb. 25 at Springhouse Theatre, 14119 Old Nashville Hwy., Smyrna. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24, with a 3:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Feb. 25.
Tickets are available at ticketsnashville.com. For more information, on Springhouse Theatre Company call (615) 852-8499 or visit springhousetheatre.com.