A Sharp, Peculiar Vintage: Arsenic and Old Lace at Hillsboro Artists’ Regional Theatre

Joseph Kesselring’s superbly written 1939 dark comedy Arsenic and Old Lace has long been a perennial favorite in the theatrical world for its charming mix of intrigue, slapstick comedy, danger, and romance (more or less in that order). With its novel premise, wry dialogue, and fast-moving parade of vibrant characters, it’s little wonder that, eighty years on, the show is still so highly regarded by dramatic practitioners and enthusiasts alike. Of course, the danger in doing something so well-known and respected is that, however unjustly, the viewer’s expectations are heightened by the show’s renown. That being said; (and despite some light pacing issues and questionable choices for some of the secondary characters), HART’S current production of “Arsenic” boasts an overall feeling of mirth and exhilaration that should remind viewers why they fell in love with the story in the first place.

The Origin of AA: An Intimate Portrayal at Sandy Actors Theatre

The foundation of the AA organization, the faltering, early crusade of its founders, and a chronicle of those men, and their wives, all serve as the basis for Sandy Actors Theatre’s current production, Bill W. and Dr. Bob. Despite some mostly forgivable flaws (some owing to the infuriatingly inconsistent script) it is an effective production with well-meaning enthusiasm, some genuine and beautifully articulated moments of truth, and, perhaps most significantly, a powerful awareness of the importance of the show’s (and the organization’s) mission and message.

Venus in Fur Rules at Twilight

David Ives’ play Venus in Fur is either an actor’s wildest dream or worst nightmare: it features only two actors, switching fluidly between roles as they perform a play-within-a-play onstage for an uninterrupted ninety minutes. It’s difficult material that could easily go sideways, exploring sado-masochistic relationships and using portions of an 1870 novel. Fortunately, under Alicia Turvin’s strong direction, Twilight Theater Company’s current production is more than up for the challenge.

Eleemosynary: Redefining the Family Drama

There is a strong temptation, in opening this review, to define the titular word in the manner of Webster or Oxford. Such a presentation might lend an academic air to the text which follows and would certainly cause speculation as to how the newly disclosed meaning pertained to the themes and general goings-on of the play. It is a temptation, however, which must be resisted, as the word eleemosynary, like the play which bears its name, is not so easily, all-at-once defined.

Boeing Boeing: High-flying fun at Vancouver’s Magenta Theatre

How to make the perfect 1960’s French Farce cocktail

● Start with one cavalier bachelor

● Add a well-meaning, but overwhelmed Wisconsinite

● Stir in three air hostesses of unequaled verve and passion

● Shake well

● Garnish with a surly, veteran French maid

● Sit back and enjoy

It’s a recipe for hilarious disaster that Vancouver’s Magenta Theater serves up funny and fast, if not always perfectly blended.  

The Hundred Dresses: Quality on Display at Beaverton Civic Theatre

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.”

-Edmund Burke

Now, “evil” in this case may be switched for something less melodramatic, like antipathy or simple meanness, and “men” might trade for “young woman” but overall the theme remains the same, and features prominently in Beaverton Civic Theatre’s latest period piece, The Hundred Dresses.