Review: You Can’t Take It With YouBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jan 16th, 2006 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of Great Falls Player’s production of You Can’t Take It With You [MP3 5.3MB 5:46].
Mike: You Can’t Take it With You is the story of the Sycamore family. It takes place in 1936 or there abouts. The Sycamore family is an eccentric, strange, odd family. But then again everybody thinks their family is eccentric, strange, and odd. But this family really was. They made fireworks in the basement. The son-in-law plays the xylophone, which just isn’t one of those instruments you see. The mom write plays just because she accidently got a typewriter delivered to the house and she felt that was a sign and started writing plays. The grandfather one day just gave up his job because he decided he had had enough and wanted to enjoy life. And there’s other people, the maid lives at the house with her boyfriend or fiance or whatever he was. The other daughter wants to be a ballet dancer so she’s been taking lessons from a Russian ballet instructor for eight years and she still can’t pirouette.
Laura: He randomly comes over to the house quite often for dinner.
Mike: It’s just an eccentric family. And then the other daughter, Alice, becomes engaged to a rich gentleman. The vice-president of the company where she works. And she decides she doesn’t want him to meet her real family. So she tells them to clean their act up when he comes over to be introduced to the real family. And hijinks ensue.
Laura: The character I liked was Donald, played by Carl Nubile. He was the boyfriend of Rheba the maid. They weren’t married, but he appearently lived there with them. Real down to earth character. May not have had his elevator going all the way up to the top floor, but he was a lot of fun. The scene that I liked was the scene where he was reading the newspaper the morning after they had all been thrown in jail. And his stumbling over the words and not understanding exactly what was going on. I thought he did a really good job with that.
Mike: Yes, it was obvious that he enjoyed the notoriety and reading about himself in the paper and laughing about his experience of the rich gentleman getting strip searched and getting thrown in jail and giggling about that. So that was good. I liked Alice. She was portrayed by McCall Noelle Ferrell. Alice was the woman who got engaged to the vice president of the company where she worked. She was a little ashmed of her family because they were so odd and strange. The scene where she was telling the family how to straighten up because the family was going to be visited the next night by the family of her fiance. These are very rich people. So she’s telling them to put the snakes away and hide the xylophone and don’t talk about any of your novels or your plays and …
Laura: Don’t light any fire crackers.
Mike: Don’t light any fireworks or firecrackers. And just seeing her getting all hyped and nervous about the future in-laws coming to visit. I think she carried it off really well.
Laura: I agree. In a lot of ways though, I think they could be more eccentric.
Mike: The characters had their eccentricities: playing the xylophone really isn’t that weird. Not a regular instrument, but you know. Keeping a snake in the house, ok, that isn’t a big deal. Doing fireworks in the basement is a little strange, but, I don’t know there needed to be a little more eccentricities in general with the household. One of the way they could have brought that out would have been the set design itself. The staging was at the Alden Theatre. It’s a very wide stage. It felt like there was a lot of empty space. They had a dining table.
Laura: Yes, they had a dining table in one area. They had the sofas on either side of the stage. They had a door that led to the kitchen. They had a xylophone at the back of the stage. The printing press towards the back of the stage. They had the front door and they had the door that went down to the basement. It felt very open.
Mike: Whenever the characters had to walk from the sofa to the dining table it felt like it takes them a long time to get over there. I wish they could have added more stuff.
Laura: It needed more clutter.
Mike: Needed more clutter. I mean the mother was writing plays. She had a stack of papers on the table she was typing on. But they could have had like novels or books or bound books. One of her characters was at a monastery so they could have had a monk’s robe or things to help her get in the mood as set design things. That would have been neat. A printing press could have had lots of paper around it. The father enjoyed playing with a battleship so you could have had toys.
Laura: Parts all over the floor.
Mike: Sitting on the coffee table. So that would have been a cool thing if they could have had a little more clutter inthe house. it just felt a little too clean for an eccentric family.
Laura: I would agree with that. Overall, I felt it was a good show. Definitely enjoyable for the whole family.
Mike: It was fun. At several points everyone was laughing because it was funny. There were some good situations going on. So I would say go ahead and see You Can’t Take It With You. It’s playing for two more weeks at the Alden Theatre in McLean.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.