Editor’s Note: The following is a local theatre review by Jeff Gates, who has been attending shows and writing about them for The Madison Press since 1996.
Just another ordinary uneventful day in Brooklyn.
Except for the dead bodies.
That is the sort of intrigue involved in Jonathan Alder High School’s presentation of the quirky and chaotic “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
First year director Stephanie Tinberg does a nice job in her debut of assembling a unique cast of characters. The classic comedy will be on stage starting tonight (Friday) at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s auditeria. Other shows will be Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets are available at the door.
The show centers on the Brewster sisters, a seemingly delightful duo who have a habit of having people over for a nice glass of elderberry wine — and then poisoning them.
The Brewster sisters have three diverse nephews who add exponentially to the confusion.
Mortimer is a local theater critic who is excited about his upcoming marriage to Elaine, the local reverend’s daughter. Teddy believes he is Theodore Roosevelt. Jonathan is a wanted murderer on the run with his mad scientist sidekick Dr. Einstein.
The interaction of those characters (plus close to 10 more) add to the madcap adventures.
Theater veteran Katie Davis is a gem of the show as she shines in the role of the play’s matriarch, Abby. Davis is delightful as she bustles around the stage.
Looking right at home on the stage is freshman Sydney Winslow as Aunt Martha. Another gem of the show, Winslow sweeps across the theater with a sweet, inquisitive style.
From compassionate to confused, Kenelm Kendig does a fine job showing the range of emotions needed by Mortimer as he tries to juggle in his mind the concepts of matrimony and murder.
Alyssa Masula is just lovely as Elaine, Mortimer’s betrothed. In a role she appears meant to play, Masula is strong-willed as the quickly-confused bride-to-be.
With a deep, resonating voice, show gem Nathan Uhrman is calmly-menacing as serial exterminator Jonathan. In whimsical contrast to Uhrman’s stoic persona, Noah LeMaster may be the brightest of the show’s four gems as the adorably-skittish Dr. Einstein with his jelly-legged style.
The audience will be ‘dee-lighted’ with rookie Tyler Hicks’ portrayal of the Panama-digging President.
The supporting cast is an eclectic collection of personalities. They are led by a star-in-the-making with Nehemian Haines as policeman playwright O’Hara. Other talented police portrayals come as Jordan Ballard and Gabrielle Pollom join forces as a local law-and-order tandem, and Madison McMillen as the rigid precinct lieutenant.
Other supporting roles are nicely filled by Grayson Abend as the serene Reverend Harper, Ryan Gutierrez as room-seeking Mr. Gibbs, and Andy Gingerich as forlorn clinic boss Mr. Witherspoon.
As always, Scott Jones outdoes himself with a magnificent set.
Enjoy as hilarity runs across the stage – it practically gallops.
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