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Arsenic and Old Lace: So Funny It’ll Kill You

20 June 2011 No Comment

The NoVa Woodbridge Theatre Group held their audience’s attention relentlessly on Thursday, April 21 with one joke after another in their performance of Joseph Kesselring’s Arsenic and Old Lace.

The story follows the exploits of a pair of sisters, Abby (Diamond Castro) and Martha (Valerie Vy Nguyen in this performance, double cast with Jessica Feeney) Brewster, who have taken it upon themselves to help lonely old men find peace — with poisoned elderberry wine, that is. They’d just taken their twelfth victim when their nephew, Mortimer (Daniel Jacobson), happens upon the body stuffed in the window seat. Meanwhile, Mortimer’s evil brother, Jonathan (Christopher Stadther), returns home with his partner in crime, a plastic surgeon called Dr. Einstein (Chris Condetti), and a cadaver of their own. The situation is complicated by Mortimer’s fiancée (Brooke Angel) who wants to know just what’s going on, a cop with big plans for writing a script (Jesse Baskin), and the third Brewster brother (Taylor Yoswa), who believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt.

The cast pulled off some brilliantly funny moments. For example, theatre critic Mortimer complains about the stupidity of the man in a play who hadn’t noticed the enemy sneaking up behind him — while unknowingly acting out the same scene with Jonathan.

Even a funny mistake, a missed light cue, made its way in when Stadther attempted to turn off the lights, which didn’t change, forcing Condetti to conclude aloud that the switch was broken. Yoswa also provided many comical moments, such as shouting, “Charge!” every time he went upstairs.

The cast auditioned in January by reading cold from the script, and have been rehearsing since February. They debuted on Thursday, April 14, and closed on Saturday, April 23.

“It’s a lot of fun, and the crew and cast are awesome,” said Stadther of the show.

Yoswa agreed.

Dr. Eric Trumbull, the professor of theater at NOVA, directed the show, assisted by Brittany Mignoli, who — like many other cast members — is applying the show toward the requirements of one or more of her classes.

Stadther explained that although performing in the show is not required for acting class, participation is.

The cast worked alongside the crew for tech, including building the set and designing costumes.

The actors were absolutely on and did their very best with the script. I, for one, hope to see more.

By: Sally Little

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