As a perfect end to our 2023 season, we present a revival of Joseph Kesselring’s classic dark farce, Arsenic and Old Lace.
This uproarious comedy tells the story of two charming gentle old ladies, pillars of the community who rescue their poor, lonely lodgers from the sorrows of the world - by poisoning them.
Last performed at the Criterion over 25 years ago, comedies of this longevity are hard to find, being a huge Broadway hit in the early ’40s and then surviving as a relative staple of the international stage repertoire ever since.
Reviews of the play
“ …an inspired and delightful comic concoction, which combines the cosy charm and ingenious plotting of an Agatha Christie Whodunnit with a much sharper and more knowing satirical perspective.” The Guardian
In line with our EDI policy, we undertake an EDI impact assessment of all our artistic programming. ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ has no specific diversity message within its narrative. The play can be cast with complete neutrality on race/ethnicity. On the character notes, there are indications where specific playing gender identifications are called for, however some characters can be cast gender-neutrally. This play was first produced in 1941 and elements of the play reflect attitudes at that time, in particular the approach to mental health. The play offers lead roles to older female actors.At the Criterion we are absolutely committed to a core aspiration to be a demonstrable place of opportunity for all, with diverse and brilliant plays on stage and inclusive company and membership. Please see our policies on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.