(Role: Mortimer Brewster)
James Roose Evans presents a well-tried winner in Arsenic and Old Lace - that hilarious, if now a little whiskery, comedy - at the Belgrade Theatre this week. A repertory relic, if not actually a slaughter victim of that ever hungry Dragon Television, it still gets the laughs, though not the laughs that once it brought.
I give five-star commendations to those two stalwarts of the regular company, Barbara Atkinson and Patsy Byrne, who so often have to make the most of small character parts. Here they have a couple of BIG character parts as the two Brewster spinsters who, with the best intentions in the world, bring permanent peace to lonely old men with a potently toxic home-made elderberry wine. I shall remember their performance for many moons - and I shall chuckle.
Brian Currah has designed a gem of a set, and, although some of the supporting players miss the boat, the whole show makes an enjoyable evening out. Oh, and keep an eye on Alan Howard. His expressions as the bewildered and horrified Mortimer Brewster are a wow!
Leamington Spa Courier, 1.5.1959.
A first class performance is given by the Belgrade Theatre Company of the American favourite Arsenic and Old Lace which opened a two week run last night.
Barbara Atkinson and Patsy Byrne are excellent as the two charitable old aunts, and Alan Howard and Kenton Moore keep this comedy thriller constantly on the move.
They are well supported by Charles Kay, Peter Palmer and Anne Johnston.
Direction is by James Roose Evans and the splendid setting by Brian Currah.
Birmingham Evening Mail, 28.4.59.
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