Metro Theatre

Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring

Dates and Venue 3-31 Oct 2009 @ 8.00 p.m. & 2pm Sunday matinees| Metro Theatre, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Kesselring's classic and zany comedy thriller has been presented time and again in schools, communty and professional theatres around the world, and especially by Metro Theatre, since 1939. In 1944, a film version was made starring Cary Grant, Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre. This is one of those classics that never die, and will forever be a hit, if produced properly. Well, Metro Theatre's production is, in my opinion, another of their classic hits.

What impressed me the most was that all the characters were cast to the T. Vallerie Dearden and Alison Schamberger were delightful as the old aunts who "innocently" kill off their victims. Rob Gillespie was verily funny as the charging "President Roosevelt". Nathanael Vaas fit his role as the drama critic concerned about his brother Teddy "Roosevelt", his aunts and his long lost brother, Jonathan, who reapears after so many years, with his Boris Karloff looks, and his :"horror movie" voice, and Pat McDermott fit his role perfectly as his sidekick, Dr. Einstein, with his convincing Chicago drawl.

John Hedgecock as Reverend Dr. Harper was clear and crisp in the delivery of his lines, and director Don Briard plays a small role as Mr. Gibbs, as well as does other production duties as Lighting and Set Designer. There were a few problems with the houselights on opening night, but despite this small technical flaw, the production was delivered with finesse.

This play has a quite a big cast. Other characters were Elaine Harper (Caitlin Clugston) who played her role extremely well; Officer Brophy (Daniel Unruh) who acted convincingly, but I think he needs to slow down his speech and enuncate more clearly; Lieutenat Rooney (Steven Burridge) with his Irish accent was quite amusing; and David McNea as Mr. Witherspoon, the last murder victim- to- be, was succinctly enjoyable.

This is the 444th production of Metro in its 47th season, and this community theatre is still going strong despite the ages of its senior company members. And I'm certain that the younger members will continue with the fine tradition of this community theatre with plays as delightful as this one.

Congratulations again to the cast and production staff for coming up with another hit production!

© 2009 Ed Farolan