Saturday, June 5th, 2010

BLAK Yak Theatre’s (note to subs: there is no ‘C’ in Blak) latest production is journeying back to 1940s Brooklyn – and marks the debut of sisters Sinéad and Róisín Bevan as directors.

Written by Joseph Kesselring, Arsenic and Old Lace is best remembered for the 1944 Frank Capra film version with Cary Grant and focuses on two elderly women who poison lonely old men as a hobby.

Complications set in when their nephew Mortimer learns of their activities and another nephew arrives with the body of the latest victim.

Sinéad and Róisín were inspired to direct the show at the Midland Junction Arts Centre for Blak Yak Theatre after seeing a pantomime at the Subiaco Arts Centre last year.

“The atmosphere in the room was vibrant and full of fun energy,” Róisín said. “Sinéad and I chatted during interval and said ‘I reckon we can do this!’

“We've always had an interest in theatre and thought it would be great to do something together.

“We both have skills in different areas but can agree on the same things and admire each other's contribution.”

Sinéad said the idea of directing a play appealed to her because she loves bringing people together, observing the bonds they form and then watching their self-esteem grow.

“We wanted to direct Arsenic and Old Lace in particular because it's a fabulous, high-energy, hilarious black comedy,” she said.

“Róisín and I expected not to be taken very seriously on account of our youth – but disproving the 'ageists' is half the fun.”

“We did worry that co-directing might be the end of our sisterhood yet it’s proven quite the opposite.

“I don't know where I end and Róisín begins. We finish each other's sentences and seem to read each other's minds. “

Arsenic and Old Lace is about escapism and a chance for adults to have fun, according to Róisín.

“It's play-time for grown-ups,” she said. “The play is entertaining, intelligent and fun and an opportunity to see some fantastic acting from a group of people doing what they love.

“Everything is challenging about being in or directing a play but in very positive ways.

“Sinéad and I were warned that it might not be wise to have two directors but we've experienced the opposite.

“We both have the same vision and agree on what works and what doesn't, so everything you see is a collaborative effort.”

Arsenic and Old Lace plays at 8pm, June 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 with 2pm matinees on June 20 and 27.

Tickets are $18 adults, $14 concession – book on 0468 901 570 or through

Midland Junction Arts Centre is on the corner of Cale Street and Great Eastern Highway, Midland.

arsenic1: Cicely Binford as Abby and Marilyn Flynne as Martha in Blak Yak Theatre’s production of Arsenic and Old Lace.

arsenic2: Tristan Pearcy is Mortimer and Róisín Bevan is Elaine in Arsenic and Old Lace this June.

arsenic-cicely-rory-marilyn: Cicely Binford as Abby, Rory Innes as Teddy and Marilyn Flynne as Martha Blak Yak Theatre’s production of Arsenic and Old Lace.

arsenic-roisin-john: Róisín Bevan and John Bevan are in Arsenic and Old Lace this June.

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Contact Profile

Blak Yak Theatre

Blak Yak is a vibrant community theatre company based in Perth, Western Australia. Established in 1993, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our productions and our dedicated audience which spans a broad range of loyal theatregoers.

Blak Yak was the first theatre company in Australia to present Terry Pratchett's plays, starting with Mort in 1997, and has built a reputation as being the premiere theatre group staging adaptations of popular novels, films and television shows such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Red Dwarf, Human Traffic, Men Behaving Badly, The Underpants and Coupling. More recently, Blak Yak mounted the world stage premiere of Black Books drawing on three episodes of the award-winning TV hit to create a single night of hilarity.

But there's much more to Blak Yak than film and TV adaptations. Not afraid to take chances, Blak Yak has presented original WA-written plays including our most recent offerings Prod and Prejudice and Enmity, both of which received critical recognition at the 2007 Southwest Dramafest. Other notable productions include Lysistrata and Amadeus and our recent production of Picasso's Women also received critical praise, with one of our performers winning Best Actress at the 2007 ITA Finley Awards. At the same ceremony, one of our actors won Best Other Than Lead Male for Black Books.

Blak Yak has won many awards over the years, particularly for our one-act repertoire. At the 2003 WA State Drama Festival, for example, Blak Yak was the first theatre group to win Best Play in both the Adult and Youth sections with Two Women and a Chair and Cloud Over the Morning. These accolades stand as testament to the talent and commitment of our performers and directors as well as those who lend a helping hand behind the scenes.

At Blak Yak, we are always open to new ideas and new talents. For performers, upcoming auditions will be posted on the Auditions page of this website as well on the Theatre Australia website (

Directors and scriptwriters are also encouraged to make contact and explore opportunities to mount their shows with us.
Sinéad Bevan
P: 0430 245 113

Róisín Bevan

P: 0439 043 005


WA Western Australia Perth Midland Blak Yak Black theatre performer what's on stage nightife acting actor performance show Arsenic and Old Lace



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