Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

December 31, 2012

‘Arsenic & Old Lace’ opens season at Beef & Boards

By Brenda L. Holmes
CNHI

INDIANAPOLIS — Beef & Board Dinner Theatre opened its 40th season with a production of “Arsenic & Old Lace.”

The cast includes David Schmittou as Mortimer, Karen Papas as Abby, Gerri Weagraff as Martha, and Jeff Stockberger as the maniacal Jonathan.

The main cast, along with several talented supporting members, tell the tale of murder in a sweet and hilarious way.

The show takes place just over a one-day period in the Brewster family home where the elderly sisters, Abby and Martha, bring their special brand of charity to the lonely in Brooklyn.

I’ve seen this production in other theaters but really enjoyed this cast — especially Stockberger’s rendition of the creepy older brother.

Papas and Weagraff also do a wonderful job of bringing to life the sisters who make their own brand of elderberry wine with “arsenic, strychnine, and just a pinch of cyanide.”

The idea of the two Methodist women “helping” their lonely roomers out of their misery is a funny premise for a play.

The show was made popular by the 1941 Frank Capra film staring Cary Grant as Mortimer, who seems to be the only sane member of the family.

Schmittou does a fabulous job of bringing the character to life and by the end of the production, you almost feel sorry for Mortimer. He does everything he can to keep his “crazy” family out of trouble.

His fiancé, Elaine Harper, is played by Lisa Ermel. Ermel is in her debut role at Beef & Boards.

I think my favorite performance in a supporting role came from Eddie Curry as Jonathan’s partner, Dr. Einstein. Curry is one of Beef & Board’s favorite character actors.

But I also enjoyed Douglas Stark’s portrayal of Teddy, the nutty nephew of the ladies and the brother of Jonathan and Mortimer.

Other shows scheduled for this season include “9 to 5” the musical, “Menopause” the musical, “The Sound of Music,” “Smoke on the Mountain,” Father of the Bride,” “Les Misérables,” and “A Beef & Boards Christmas.”

“Arsenic & Old Lace” will be in playing at Beef & Boards through Feb. 3. Tickets range from $47.50 to $62.50 and include chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet, fruit, and salad bar.

For more information, call the box office at 872-9664 or visit the website at www.feefandboards.com.

— Brenda Holmes is a staff writer at the Hendricks County Flyer.