Sayville Players in ARSENIC & OLD LACE

  • Killing Them With Kindness

    In Arsenic and Old Lace

     

    In the screwball comedy of Arsenic and Old Lace, recently presented by the Sayville Players Theatre Laboratory, the sweet old Brewster sisters deliver charity of a lethal kind to unsuspecting lonely souls. Homemade elderberry wine, laced with arsenic by the biddies, puts the miserable out of misery and sets the backdrop for the hilarious interplay of inherited delusion and cold reality.

    The non sequitur homicides by soft-spoken Abigail (Kaitlin McNamara, Nicolle Ferremi, Melanie Anderson) and mild-mannered Martha (Kimberly Miller, Kiera Muscara) who epitomize serenity and philanthropy—not murderers—disturb their nephew Mortimer (Matthew Spina) when he accidently discovers their 12th victim in a window seat. Mortimer’s otherwise normal life as a successful drama critic who has just proposed marriage to his sweetheart Elaine (Kim Colavito, Gabrielle Kalomiris)—the innocent daughter of Reverend Harper (Brian Walsh)—has abruptly entered the realm of the absurd. 

     Well, maybe not so abruptly... Mortimer’s one brother Teddy (Kailey Schnurman) has long suffered from the outlandish self-delusion that he is Teddy Roosevelt and disrupts the quiet neighborhood, blowing his bugle at all hours as he charges up “San Juan Hill,” i.e. the staircase. Mortimer’s other, more sinister brother, Jonathan (Liam Hofmeiser), has been locked away in prison for the criminally insane.

    When Jonathan escapes from prison and returns to the Brewster house, he and his surgeon companion, Dr. Einstein (Cassie D’Agostino) bring both more mayhem to the dysfunctional household and the police in full force. (These humorous ancillary roles were played with big impact by Alyssa Coia, Alexis Skalkowski, Christian Savini and Caroline Pace)

    In their high-antics comedy roles, Matt Spina, Kailey Schnurman, Liam Hofmeiser, Cassie D’Agostino, Kim Colavito, Gabrielle Kalomiris, and Jake Vail (who played potential victims) delivered their characters with convincing flamboyance that was in nice contrast with the straighter, but no less funny, performances of Kaitlin McNamara, Nicolle Ferremi, Melanie Anderson, Kimberly Miller, and Kiera Muscara as the Brewster sisters, and Brian Walsh as the Reverend Harper. 

    While “murdering” may run in the Brewster family, thanks to the guidance of Director Steve Hailey, the enthusiasm and hard work of all the High School actors, the efficient lighting technicians, along with the amazing scenery and stage crews, the Sayville Players “killed” the audiences with their three-evening productions of Joseph Kesselring’s classic comedy that left audiences chuckling.


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    Additional kudos to the performers in the prelude, COMEDY TONIGHT, which dealt with tongue twisting reporting in Peter’s in the Pokey (Director Hailey and Dina Netska), how to land a job successfully in Wanted: Comedy Writer (Allie Roppelt and Meghan Marshall); the self explanatory joke segment Changing a Lightbulb and You Know You’ve Been in the Theatre Too Long (Gabby Giovan, Victoria Ferremi, Allie Roppelt): and a theatrical moment of crisis in Trapped in a Monolog (Katia Sparwasser).