Black comedy at its brilliant best

    Director Helen Kavanagh takes time out at rehearsals with her husband Pat

    DUISKE Players Drama Group are putting the finishing touches to Joseph Kesselring’s Arsenic & Old Lace to be staged in the Abbey Hall, Graignamanagh at 8pm on March 8, 9 and 10.

    The group is celebrating over 30 years and with this production, are following on from their dramatic successes of last year’s sophisticated and hilarious British farce Not Now Darling by Ray Cooney.

    This show is directed by group stalwart Helen Kavanagh who first appeared on stage with the group in 1990 in the title of role in John B. Keane’s Sive.

    Her director’s debut was in 2002 in Martin McDonaghs The Cripple of Inishmaan. Her most recent was The Field by John B. Keane.

    Arsenic and Old Lace was written in 1939 but became best known through the subsequent film adaptation starring Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster and directed by Frank Capra.

    The play is a farcical black comedy revolving around the ‘seemingly well-to-do’ Brewster family who were descended from the Mayflower, but now composed of a host of other attributes.

    The leading ladies- two spinster sisters Abby and Martha Brewste, Edel Bolger and Stas Bolger, have developed very bad habits with their home-made elderberry wine, which some could only describe as lethal.

    Their nephew, Teddy Brewster (Paul Hickey), who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt, also lives with the sisters and assists them in their daily duties and is on hand to help when his brother Jonathan (Peter Prendergast) and his alcoholic accomplice, Dr Einstein (Pat Kavanagh) come to visit.

    Hero, Mortimer Brewster (Edward Hayden), is a dramatic critic who must deal not only with his crazy family but also the regular visits from the local police officers (John Meaney, Jim Whelan, Jim Kielthy, Nathan Dunne) in Brooklyn, New York,  and also continue to make plans to marry the woman he loves, Elaine Harper (Brid Maloney), much to the disgust of her father. Rev Harper (Tommy Prendergast).

    With all this action unfolding the chaos is accelerated by the arrivals of Miss Witherspoon (Lily Brennan) and Miss Gibbs (Anna Malone).

    A wonderful authentic Victorian Set was designed by Helen Kavanagh and Eamonn Doherty, Lighting is by Feekie O’Brien, sound by Mark Bolger, Make Up by Deborah Murray with Bonnie Prendergast, Maura Gahan, Marian Kielthy and Liz Whelan leading the front of house team.

    Admission is €10 and doors open at 7pm.