Review of Arsenic and Old Lace

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Typically, a play about two elderly woman poisoning lonely males would never have entertained my short attention span, but "Arsenic and Old Lace" was able to grasp and maintain my interest. The cleverly complex plot (the two woman murderers have a mobster nephew) proved to be both suspenseful and engaging, encouraging audience members to examine and predict the next twist. Each scene builds the anticipation of the climactic resolution, never failing to loose the viewers' attention. Flawlessly constructed with straightforward language, the involved story was not difficult for even the simplest audience member to understand.

At the Whitman edition, the play seemed to fall short to meet the literary merit of the play. Initially, the audience assumes an outstanding performance because of the authentic sets. Beautifully designed and true to the time period, the sets transported the eager audience to the 1940's. No detail was too small for the designer. The set had working chandeliers and what appeared to be mahogany trimmed chairs. Despite the outstanding sets and remarkably well written piece of drama, the cast performing the Whitman edition of "Arsenic and Old Lace" left most of the audience under-whelmed and indifferent. The actors attempted to engage the audience, but the shabby accents and melodramatic movements proved to be too distracting for the viewers, inhibiting them from fully believe each character. Teddy Brewster, the insane one-dimensional individual, was the only role somewhat capable of connecting with the spectators. The actor playing Teddy committed to his persona and allowed his mannerisms and voice to imitate that of Teddy Roosevelt. Despite his sparse one-liners, Teddy provided to be the only memorable character.
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