In Arsenic and Old Lace, Angela Thorne and Brigit Forsyth star as two little old ladies who poison old men and bury them in the basement of their Victorian home in Brooklyn. Joseph Kesselring's play premiered on Broadway in 1941. It transferred in 1942 to the West End’s Strand Theatre, where it was revived in 2003. The comedy was immortalised in Frank Capra's 1944 film in which Cary Grant played the murderesses' nephew Mortimer Brewster, a theatre-hating drama critic.
The new touring production, directed by Robin Herford, also features Sylvester McCoy and Huw Higginson. Following Richmond, where the production opens this week (until 5 February 2005), Arsenic and Old Lace visits Colchester, Salford, Bromley, Bath, Leeds, Eastbourne, Woking, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Wycombe, Poole, Glasgow, Plymouth, Cheltenham, Wolverhampton, Cardiff, Windsor and Cardiff, where the schedule concludes on 18 June 2005.
Actor Nick Moran (of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels renown) makes his playwriting debut with the UK premiere of Telstar which opens at the Cambridge Arts Theatre this week (also until 5 February 2005) before continuing to York, Darlington, Guildford, Eastbourne and Manchester until 12 March. Set in the 1960s, it tells the story of the real-life Joe Meek, the world’s first independent record producer.
Con O'Neill (Blood Brothers, Mother Clap’s Molly House) plays Joe in a cast that also includes Linda Robson, Adam Rickitt and Roland Manookian. The black comedy – which Moran has developed over the past eight years in between his own screen and stage acting commitments – is directed by Paul Jepson.
In Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, newly adapted for the stage by Trevor Baxter based on Wilde’s 1891 short story, Russ Abbot and Susan Penhaligon are joined by Sara Crowe, Henry McGee and Royce Mills in the new production, which opens at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 22 February 2005.
Young Lord Arthur is deliriously happy: a pillar of society on the verge of marriage, until… a brief departure from Victorian convention leads him to the abode of a chilling clairvoyant who gravely pronounces that before he can marry he must commit murder. Following Windsor, the comedy continues to Guildford, Cardiff, Belfast, Malvern, Barnstaple, Brighton, Richmond, Leeds, Coventry and Nottingham, where the schedule concludes on 4 June 2005.
- by Terri Paddock