Arsenic and Old Lace takes audiences on a wild ride

“Insanity runs in my family... It practically gallops.” So explains Mortimer Brewster of his homicidal relatives in the Trinity College School production of Arsenic and Old Lace, which ran the evenings of February 28th, March 1st and 2nd. Laughter filled the Dick and Jane LeVan Theatre as audiences experienced the rollercoaster ride of life with the Brewster clan.

Written in 1939 by Joseph Kesselring and first produced on Broadway in 1941, Arsenic and Old Lace tells the story of Mortimer Brewster (Colin Pecka) and his bride-to-be, Elaine (Gemma Varty). When the couple returns to Mortimer’s home to announce their impending marriage, he soon learns that his elderly aunts, Abby (Olivia Heid) and Martha (Jaden Love) have been poisoning male visitors to the house and burying them in the basement. The antics of Mortimer’s brother, Teddy (Alastair Gray), who believes himself to be Theodore Roosevelt, seem to pale in comparison.

As Mortimer seeks to keep his aunts’ murderous tendencies a secret from his fiancée, her father (Revd. Dr. Harper, played by Owen Neal) and the police – Lieutenant Rooney (Van Veecock) and Officers Brophy (Nicolas Letamendi), Klein (Zelim Gabisov) and O’Hara (Kyle Munns) – he works with Mr. Witherspoon (LC Girard) to have Teddy committed to a sanatorium. When the aunts almost take another victim, in the form of Mr. Gibbs (Isaiah Rickards), Mortimer thinks life can’t be any more complicated. But then his older brother, the convicted killer Jonathan (Geoffrey Baxter) escapes prison, arriving at the Brewster home with his plastic surgeon sidekick, Dr. Einstein (Arib Nasarullah), to add to the chaos. Mortimer struggles to keep the bodies organized, at the same time questioning whether all this insanity runs in the family!

A wonderful team worked behind the scenes to recreate the Brewster family home and all its zaniness, led by director Mr. Bill Walker. Isabel Pazos served as stage manager, assisted by Max Buck and Charlotte Youd, and with the talented running crew of Jeff McHarg, Hannah Beckford, Lily Lai, Shailyn Harris, Oprah Kajeguhakwa, Lainey Moser, Frances Harvey, Evelyn Maguire, Victoria Wilson, Andrea Zermeno, Marcus Davis and Cameryn Lang.

Mr. Cory McKercher again lent his expertise to lighting design, while Andrea Zermeno handled the soundboard. The sets, designed by Grade 10 student Alma Schaff, were brought to life by Mr. Dale Heffernan and his team of Mr. Mike den Biesen, Mr. Craig Martin and Mr. Mark den Biesen, with set decoration by Mr. Walker and original artwork by Van Veecock. Jeff McHarg and Gemma Varty organized the costumes, with Gemma also serving as acting coach. Ms. Mady Chard oversaw make-up. And the smiling duo of Ehi and Ose Aziegbemhin welcomed audience members, as front of house managers. Special thanks once again to Liz Clark and the Victorian Operetta Society for their support, as well as our TCS property and culinary services departments.

Click on the links below for photo galleries from the play: