You Can’t Take It With You
In these times of gloom and doom, the best antidote may be fast-paced, frolicking fun. So, put all the serious stuff aside for a second and surround yourself with the old-fashioned silliness of the Sycamore family.
This eccentric East Coast clan is brought to life in George Kaufman and Moss Hart’s 1937 Pulitzer Prize-winning play You Can’t Take It With You. Each family member is an odder duck than the next.
We have tax evader Grandpa, who quit work to philosophize; Mom, who writes just because she finds a typewriter; Dad the fireworks fanatic; dancing daughter Essie; and her husband Ed, a printer and xylophonist. In the middle of this madcap madness is the normal daughter, Alice, the Marilyn Munster of the family, who hesitates to introduce her straight-laced fiancé and his old-fogey family to her oddball relatives.
You can imagine the frazzled frenzy that ensues when the two families get together—one loosey goosey and the other tighter than a bug’s butt. Not to give away an obvious ending, but one family teaches the other a valuable lesson, and a wedding does take place. That’s all we’re going to say, except don’t put your money on the uptight uptowners.
The Foothill Theatre Company presents pure fun in its production of You Can’t Take It With You. It starts with a handsome set of a 1930s parlor, with antique furniture and odd accents, including deer heads, dartboards, artwork and a snake aquarium. There are great 1930s-era music and beautiful period costumes.
But it’s the contagious enthusiasm and zaniness of the cast that carries the comedy through rather broad comedic moments. Subtlety is in short supply, but big moments and messages aren’t the goals here; fun is. And the cast delivers.
Director Kristen Tucker keeps the large cast in constant motion but never lets it slide into sloppiness. Standouts include Carolyn Howath, David Silberman, Sam Misner and a few actors who do double duty with their characters: Gary Alan Wright, Karyn Casl, JG Smith and Nisa Davis Hayden.
And, though Laura Woody gives us a perky, pretty Alice, she needs to project so that her lines don’t get lost. We just don’t want to miss any wild, wacky words of the Sycamore family.