Arsenic & Old Lace

by Joseph Kesselring

Set in the early 1940s, Arsenic tells the story of newspaper drama critic Mortimer Brewster, who is anxious to marry his fiancée, the girl‐next‐door and a minister’s daughter, Elaine. But standing between them is the wackiest, weirdest family tree that ever grew! His two sweet aunts, Abby and Martha have developed murder as their favorite hobby. They regularly poison lonely old men with a mixture of arsenic and elderberry wine and then bury them in the cellar. Cousin Teddy sports pince‐nez and a handlebar moustache and regularly charges up San Juan Hill! And horrid brother Jonathan has just arrived from an asylum and a sinister side‐kick named Dr. Einstein. It’s “Home Sweet Homicide” as Mortimer tries to thwart the police conceal a corpse, curtail anymore killing, and convince Elaine that a wedding with a man who is drowning in such a murky gene pool would lead to nothing but woe. Arsenic and Old Lace is a classic comic melodrama.

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