Arsenic and Old Lace (1967)

by Joseph Kesselring

7th – 9th December 1967

Mortimer Brewster, a drama critic, has just got married and is about to go on his honeymoon when he discovers insanity runs in his family. His sweet maiden aunts poison lonely old men and have a number of corpses buried in the cellar…

The Cast

Abby Brewster: Margaret Pilkington
The Rev. Dr Harper: David Baird
Teddy Brewster: Tony Mudd
Officer Brophy: Tom Stephens
Officer Klein: Tony Irvin
Martha Brewster: Katherine Jones
Mortimer Brewster: Mike Yates
Elaine Harper: Molly Gray
Mr Gibbs: Frank Meakins
Jonathon Brewster: Peter Monger
Dr Einstein: Roger Gray
Officer O’Hara: John Thomas
Lieutenant Rooney: David Jessett
Mr Witherspoon: Graham Lawrence

Produced by Frank Meakin

Newbury Weekly News review

Compton Players cope with snow and power cut

The production of Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring presented on Thursday, Friday and Saturday by Compton Players in the Coronation Hall was badly affected by the wintry weather.

A power cut on Friday lasting for two hours lost the box office at least 50 bookings and Saturday’s snow-fall prevented at least 30 people from attending the show.

Mr Frank Meakins the producer said “We will have to accept a loss on this production but it just can’t be helped.”

The audience on Thursday evening and those that did manage to attend on the other two performances were treated to a very good production. As usual each performer seemed exactly right for the part.

Margaret Pilkington and Katherine Jones were very convincing as the two gentle sisters who killed their lodgers rather than see them live a lonely life, and Tony Mudd as their simple nephew who thought he was “Teddy Roosevelt” brought many a chuckle with his mad “Charge.”

The outstanding performance, however, was that of Roger Gray as “Dr Einstein” – a part that called for many changes of mood. He expressed them all so convincingly that in spite of his nasty character everyone seemed pleased that he got away scot-free in the end.

Molly Gray as Elaine Harpen the frustrated fiancée of Mortimer Brewster gave a good show of coquetry mixed with bewilderment. But a member of the audience was heard to say “they didn’t wear dresses that short in the late 1930s” which was the time setting for the play.