Soulpepper’s current production of You Can’t Take It With You is a delight from start to finish. The play was written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart and won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. You Can’t Take It With You is old fashioned fun with lots of laughs and some magical theatrical moments.
The story centres around the eccentric Sycamore family. The father makes fireworks in the basement; the mother creates terrible melodramatic plays and ghastly paintings; daughter Essie dreams of becoming a ballerina and pirouettes her way around the living room while her husband pounds out Beethoven on the xylophone, while Grandpa has an affinity for snakes and a dislike for government bodies who suggest he needs to pay back-taxes dating from 1901.
The only normal one in the family seems to be eldest daughter Alice who also seems to be the only one who actually earns a living. She has found her prince charming, the sophisticated and wealthy Paul. Aliceis eager to impress Paul and his parents but she needs to find a way to keep her family and their various quirky house guests tightly under wraps.
Joseph Ziegler has put together a stellar cast for this light-hearted comedy. This is an ensemble piece in every sense of the word and the actors portrayals are spot on. A couple of the characters are definite crowd pleasers. Patricia Fagan’s Essie is hysterical. She dramatically leaps, twirls, and pliés all over the stage to tremendous comic effect. Eric Peterson’s Grandpa is perfection. There is nothing more entertaining to watch than an actor having an absolute blast and Peterson seems to relish every moment on stage. He firmly anchored the play with his masterful performance.
Christina Poddubiuk expertly captures the late 1930’s with her handsome set and luscious costumes. You Can’t Take It With You is such a solid show and appropriate for a younger audience as well. It moves briskly with plenty of laughs peppered with some touching moments. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this play as I thought it might be dated but ultimately the writing still has a lot of bang. Pair that with a great cast and solid direction and you have a winning production.
You Can’t Take It With You runs through June 21
For tickets or more info visit: http://soulpepper.ca/