Arsenic and Old Lace

Critics

LemonMeter

93 %

Reviews: 14

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

A revival of Joseph Kesserling's infectiously funny black comedy about two little-old-lady aunts who see killing as an act of charity. Good, macabre fun! Aug. 19 thru Oct. 8; Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm with three additional weeknight performances on Wednesday, Sept.13; Thursday, Sept. 28; and Thursday, Oct. 5, all at 8 p.m. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.

Reviews

Avatar

The problem with this production is that a lot of energy is required from the performers, and the ensemble largely fails to deliver. Elina de Santos' direction is sluggish and inorganic. Kudos to Michael Antosy who, though cast in the small role of Officer O'Hara, provides the vigor the play so needs. All said, the actors are able. Colton and Cullen in particular are well cast as the saccharine murderesses. The performances just need to be dialed up — especially the larger-than-life character of Teddy, whose physicality is written to engulf the stage.

sweet-sour - Vanessa Cate - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

While superb production values elevate Elina de Santos' staging above the standards of innumerable community theater revivals (Bruce Goodrich's two-story Victorian interior design is a stunner), for contemporary audiences the show may more likely provoke head-scratching than nostalgic affection.

sweet-sour - Philip Brandes - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

And in 2017 at the Odyssey, the play has lost none of its luster, thanks to terrific ensemble casting and a deft hand by director Elina de Santos, who never lets the action flag.

sweet - Kelly Hartog - ...read full review


Avatar

“Arsenic and Old Lace” is absolutely as uproarious as ever, farcical in meaning but well-measured and executed with comic flair.

sweet - Imaan Jalali - ...read full review


Dan Berkowitz

"Arsenic and Old Lace" isn't “cutting edge” in any way – even the murders are done with poison, not cutlery – but it's a good, solid, old-fashioned play being given a good, solid, old-fashioned production. Warm and fuzzy is kinda nice, come to think of it.

sweet - Dan Berkowitz - The Los Angeles Post - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Joseph Kesselring may have but a single Broadway hit to be remembered by, but what a hit he has to his name. As the Odyssey Theatre Company's latest makes abundantly clear, we should all have the Arsenic And Old Lace playwright's luck!

sweet - Steven Stanley - ...read full review


David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses

To do a farce like this somewhat low-key makes for a fascinating choice, skillfully done. A simple example stands out. Teddy spends the first scene not strutting about in a caricature of Teddy Roosevelt, but rather hovering and acting on impulse rather like a child playing make believe. He and the rest of the cast never ape their facial expressions, don't distort themselves into caricatures of human behavior. It would be so easy to do that! Yet by not doing it dozens and dozens of little details stand out, little bits of characterization one rarely sees in a farce--but which deepens the humor, while at the same time making the laughs quieter. A really interesting set of choices, so consistent director Elina Santos deserves credit for it.

sweet - David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

All four actors are magnificent and hysterically off-beat throughout the play, making their character performances a joy to watch, with costumer Amanda Martin keeping the 1940s ever-present with beautifully styled ensembles for Kopp and lacy, old-fashioned creations for the maiden and murderous aunts.

sweet - Shari Barrett - ...read full review


Avatar

In these days of graphic storytelling, Arsenic and Old Lace is a welcome foray into a gentler time. Kesselring's happy ending with a twist comes as a neat conclusion to a production that has an enthusiastic ensemble enjoying themselves with a willing audience along for the ride.

sweet - Melinda Schupmann - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

Cullen and Colton handle their scenes together like pros in a championship tennis match. Cullen zings, Colton returns. Colton zings, Cullen returns. Very nice! Who wouldn't want a pair of caring, problem-solving aunts like them?

sweet - Gil Kaan - ...read full review


Avatar

Now the Odyssey has resurrected the popular horror comedy, giving it a full-bore production which treats it with much affection and respect. Bruce Goodrich's multi-level, handsomely furnished set (“one of the oldest houses in Brooklyn”) is a marvel, ditto Amanda Martin's delightful costumes. Christopher Moscatiello's music track deserves a lot of praise for the jaunty way it underlines the action, keeps things moving.

sweet - Willard Manus - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Odyssey Theatre Ensemble has mounted a superb production of the play satisfying in all aspects. Directed by Elina de Santos, the show is fast paced, hilarious and boasts impeccable timing...This ensemble of terrific players are as tight as tight can be, playing with boundless energy.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - ...read full review


Leo Buck

Who'd ever think that Murder and Whimsy could go so well together? A silly, sinister—and always satisfying slice of satire, there's giggles and guffaws galore ripe for the taking courtesy of “The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble”!

sweet - Leo Buck - Buck-ing Trends - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Whenever Jacque Lynn Colton and Sheelagh Cullen are onstage, their presence is sure to make anyone smile from ear to ear. Explaining to Mortimer their mission to help poor lonely old creatures find their peace is hysterically funny in its abject seriousness, like two aged homicidal Mother Theresas proudly proclaiming all the good they've done and all the lepers they've saved. These two incredible veteran performers often seem to be moving or speaking as one, almost finishing each other's sentences and nodding conspiratorially whenever the other makes a point. Like Jean Adair and Josephine Hull, the original Brewster sisters, their performances are the heart of this production, making it one of the premier theatrical events in a rather parched season.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review


Avatar

The problem with this production is that a lot of energy is required from the performers, and the ensemble largely fails to deliver. Elina de Santos' direction is sluggish and inorganic. Kudos to Michael Antosy who, though cast in the small role of Officer O'Hara, provides the vigor the play so needs. All said, the actors are able. Colton and Cullen in particular are well cast as the saccharine murderesses. The performances just need to be dialed up — especially the larger-than-life character of Teddy, whose physicality is written to engulf the stage.

sweet-sour - Vanessa Cate - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

While superb production values elevate Elina de Santos' staging above the standards of innumerable community theater revivals (Bruce Goodrich's two-story Victorian interior design is a stunner), for contemporary audiences the show may more likely provoke head-scratching than nostalgic affection.

sweet-sour - Philip Brandes - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

And in 2017 at the Odyssey, the play has lost none of its luster, thanks to terrific ensemble casting and a deft hand by director Elina de Santos, who never lets the action flag.

sweet - Kelly Hartog - ...read full review


Avatar

“Arsenic and Old Lace” is absolutely as uproarious as ever, farcical in meaning but well-measured and executed with comic flair.

sweet - Imaan Jalali - ...read full review


Dan Berkowitz

"Arsenic and Old Lace" isn't “cutting edge” in any way – even the murders are done with poison, not cutlery – but it's a good, solid, old-fashioned play being given a good, solid, old-fashioned production. Warm and fuzzy is kinda nice, come to think of it.

sweet - Dan Berkowitz - The Los Angeles Post - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Joseph Kesselring may have but a single Broadway hit to be remembered by, but what a hit he has to his name. As the Odyssey Theatre Company's latest makes abundantly clear, we should all have the Arsenic And Old Lace playwright's luck!

sweet - Steven Stanley - ...read full review


David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses

To do a farce like this somewhat low-key makes for a fascinating choice, skillfully done. A simple example stands out. Teddy spends the first scene not strutting about in a caricature of Teddy Roosevelt, but rather hovering and acting on impulse rather like a child playing make believe. He and the rest of the cast never ape their facial expressions, don't distort themselves into caricatures of human behavior. It would be so easy to do that! Yet by not doing it dozens and dozens of little details stand out, little bits of characterization one rarely sees in a farce--but which deepens the humor, while at the same time making the laughs quieter. A really interesting set of choices, so consistent director Elina Santos deserves credit for it.

sweet - David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

All four actors are magnificent and hysterically off-beat throughout the play, making their character performances a joy to watch, with costumer Amanda Martin keeping the 1940s ever-present with beautifully styled ensembles for Kopp and lacy, old-fashioned creations for the maiden and murderous aunts.

sweet - Shari Barrett - ...read full review


Avatar

In these days of graphic storytelling, Arsenic and Old Lace is a welcome foray into a gentler time. Kesselring's happy ending with a twist comes as a neat conclusion to a production that has an enthusiastic ensemble enjoying themselves with a willing audience along for the ride.

sweet - Melinda Schupmann - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

Cullen and Colton handle their scenes together like pros in a championship tennis match. Cullen zings, Colton returns. Colton zings, Cullen returns. Very nice! Who wouldn't want a pair of caring, problem-solving aunts like them?

sweet - Gil Kaan - ...read full review


Avatar

Now the Odyssey has resurrected the popular horror comedy, giving it a full-bore production which treats it with much affection and respect. Bruce Goodrich's multi-level, handsomely furnished set (“one of the oldest houses in Brooklyn”) is a marvel, ditto Amanda Martin's delightful costumes. Christopher Moscatiello's music track deserves a lot of praise for the jaunty way it underlines the action, keeps things moving.

sweet - Willard Manus - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Odyssey Theatre Ensemble has mounted a superb production of the play satisfying in all aspects. Directed by Elina de Santos, the show is fast paced, hilarious and boasts impeccable timing...This ensemble of terrific players are as tight as tight can be, playing with boundless energy.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - ...read full review


Leo Buck

Who'd ever think that Murder and Whimsy could go so well together? A silly, sinister—and always satisfying slice of satire, there's giggles and guffaws galore ripe for the taking courtesy of “The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble”!

sweet - Leo Buck - Buck-ing Trends - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Whenever Jacque Lynn Colton and Sheelagh Cullen are onstage, their presence is sure to make anyone smile from ear to ear. Explaining to Mortimer their mission to help poor lonely old creatures find their peace is hysterically funny in its abject seriousness, like two aged homicidal Mother Theresas proudly proclaiming all the good they've done and all the lepers they've saved. These two incredible veteran performers often seem to be moving or speaking as one, almost finishing each other's sentences and nodding conspiratorially whenever the other makes a point. Like Jean Adair and Josephine Hull, the original Brewster sisters, their performances are the heart of this production, making it one of the premier theatrical events in a rather parched season.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review