When sweet old aunties turn out to be homicidal maniacs

Arsenic and Old Lace at the Stables Theatre
Arsenic and Old Lace at the Stables Theatre

That marvellous dark comedic classic Arsenic And Old Lace is at The Stables Theatre in Hastings from February 2-10.

Written by Joseph Kesselring and set in a peaceful backwater of Brooklyn, USA, “some time ago,” it tells the story of two elderly spinsters who, on the face of it, appear to help everyone and who are loved by all.

But they have a little secret that they believe benefits lonely, elderly gentlemen. It is, however, homicidal – although done in the nicest possible way. They are ably assisted by nephew Teddy, who believes he is President Theodore Roosevelt.

Peace reigns until Mortimer comes across the remains of one the unfortunate gentlemen concerned, and believes it to be Teddy’s work.

At the same time a further nephew, the murderous Jonathan, arrives with a friend and a new face.

From here farcical chaos takes over and, as one critic said, it is “fun on a grand scale...rattling entertainment”. Frank Capra famously directed the film of Arsenic And Old Lace in 1944 starring Cary Grant.

This Stables production is directed by Leslie Adams and the cast includes Josie Body, Gill Jenks, Simon Colley, Roland Garrad, Simon Booth, Aisling Edie, Carey Poole, Ian Saxton, Simon Phelps, Dan Palmer, Andrew Turner and Ian Morson. Tickets cost £13 for adults, with discounts, from stablestheatre.co.uk.