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Arsenic & Old Lace
a Comedy
by Joeseph Kesselring

COMPANY : The Towne Lake Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Towne Lake Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 1075

SHOWING : October 08, 2004 - October 30, 2004



Mortimer Brewster Mike Cuellar
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Good entertainment
by Parrott65
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Having visited the Towne Lake Arts Center for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. This is a theatre with huge potential, having provided a comfortable atmosphere (knowing that the new chairs would soon arrive) and didn't feel like cramped quarters. The sound system was used at a reasonable level, which left me impressed that I actually heard EVERYTHING that was said throughout the show. Although, the performers didn't need to be miked. This shows they know how to use their equipment (unlike some shows at other locations I have seen). This particular show didn't require MUCH for exotic lighting, so I couldn't give a review on that. However, what lighting WAS used was in an adequate manner. I am a huge fan of black box theatres. I must say that this particular one exceeded what I felt would be considered "standard".
Now, onto the show itself. The set design was basic, yet effective for the size of the stage and the show's content. I love noticing little insignificant details about set design. For instance, it was nice to see they took a detailed approach to putting a bush outside the window. The directing of this show, by Bernadette and Alan DeRocher, showed they are not new at this. I liked the use of the stage, the entrances and exits, as well as the overall vision. I applaud the director's work in this production. In regards to the actors/actress' themselves. I feel I must point out a few of them that really grabbed me. For starters, Dr. Einstein was played by Luke Williams. I see some energy in this young man that shows he understands what it means to "ham it up". This is, by no means, a negative thing when used properly. Luke understood the character, took his viewpoint of it, and effectively put it into life. I tend to remember those actors that know how to use facial expressions, body language, and what I call "sideline reactions", which means that when he wasn't the focus of the scene and was standing off to the side, he took advantage of it without upstaging the actors. Bravo Luke. I personally hope to work with you one day.
Secondly, I have to mention Mark McCarthy. This gentleman played Det. Rooney. Mark, I read your bio and please tell me you're joking when you say that you have stage fright and only did this on a "dare". If this is the case, then I need to get with you and help you get over that fear, because you played one HECK OF A BELIEVABLE New York Detective. I will be quite honest in Mark's regard. His character was, by far, the most realistic and well performed character of the entire cast. The minute he walked on stage chewing his bubble gum, before he opened his mouth to speak, I was already thinking to myself, "Ok, this guy's going to be pretty darn good". What amazes me, is that he didn't get a bigger part. Mark, you better not drop out of the theatre hobby. You have alot to offer.
The last person I want to mention, individually, is Mike Cuellar. This up and coming actor has alot of talent that was evident during the show. Yes, there were some things that I think he needs to improve on. For instance, his facial reactions to certain things. At times, he was smiling when he should've looked scared to death. However, these are things that can be worked on. I felt his movement on stage and overall presence were very well delivered. I think he has a talent, that when well groomed, will become overwhelmingly noticed by many.
In conclusion, to explain why I gave a "3" to this performance. I consider it to be the "average" rating. The only reason I gave it the average rating is because I noticed several missed lines that were clearly evident. I also feel that some character development could've been expounded on. This doesn't mean they did a terrible job, but average. Another reason I gave this rating is costume inconsistencies. I felt that it was hard to believe that a New York cop would wear a NYPD ballcap in 1941 as well as one of the cops using a modern style flashlight. I have never seen Arsenic & Old Lace until this performance and saw alot of things that could've turned this show into a phenomenon. Apparently, it has been performed by other venues with HUGE success, since it is a popular show. I feel it was worth the cost of the ticket and a nice night out of the house for a few laughs. Good job Towne Lake. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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