What do you get when you mix a grumpy, lying, egocentric radio personality (possessed of a tongue dipped in venom and a broken leg) with a wealthy, conservative middle class family, newly-paroled homicidal convicts, hasty romantic liaisons, jealous ambitions, a smattering of Hollywood film stars, a sarcophagus, an axe murderer and even… penguins? Chaos, that’s what you get!
It’s Christmas time in early 1940’s America, and famed author/critic Sheridan Whiteside accidentally breaks his leg whilst on a lecture tour in Ohio. As a result he’s stuck in the home of wealthy industrialist Ernest W. Stanley & family, forced to do his much-loved annual radio Christmas message to America in a local hick town rather than the glittering city of New York – and boy, is he not happy about it! And so the riotous shenanigans begin…
Whiteside proceeds to plunge the whole household into siege-like chaos, ruling as a tyrannical Czar, meddling in everyone’s lives and running roughshod over nearly all that he comes across, with hilarious results.
A cross between Arsenic & Old Lace and The 39 Steps, Hart and Kaufman’s fiendish frolic of a farce was made into the highly successful 1943 Oscar Nominated Bette Davis and Monty Woolley film and is a veritable feast of wit and sophistication.
Sheridan (Sherry) Whiteside: James Klech Maggie Cutler: Bridget Collins Jo (aka Bert) Jefferson: James Marshall Mr. Ernest Stanley: Peter Emmanuel Mrs. Daisy Stanley: Caroline Fenton Lorraine Sheldon: Natalie Eacerall Dana (aka Richard) Stanley/RadioTechnician/Convict: Kate Marshall June Stanley/Sandy: Amelia Zimmatore Miss Preen: Emmie Rhodes Harriet Stanley: Helen Cheales John (the Butler): Ralph Miller Sarah (John’s wife & talented cook): Carol Smith Dr. Bradley: David Adams Professor Metz/Westcott Head RadioTechnician/Detective: Emma Harrison Beverly Carlton: Caroline Fenton Banjo/Irascible Expressman/convict: Nick Smith Mrs. Dexter: Emma Harrison Mrs. McCutcheon: Helen Cheales John Ryan convict/Radio man/Detective/Mr BakerPrison Guard/Porter: Marc Evans Maid/Radio Technician/Convict: Lauren Cooper