Castaways Repertory Theatre You Can’t Take It with YouBy McCall Doyle • Feb 12th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Castaways Repertory Theatre
AJ Ferlazzo Building, Woodbridge, VA
$14/$11 Seniors and Students/$10 Matinee
Playing through February 21st
Reviewed February 7, 2009
Castaways Repertory Theatre is putting on an old classic, You Can’t Take It with You. Most people are shocked to find that this play won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937…it’s a little on the corny side, without notable dialogue or exciting theatrics. But it DID lift the spirits of a nation recovering from the Great Depression. And in the theatre last night, the same feelings of joy were spreading through the crowd in our own hard times, faces radiant with an inner peace.
The storyline is simple. Alice Sycamore (Mari Davis) has found the man of her dreams. Tony Kirby (Eric Worcester) is the boss’ son, from a posh, prominent, and most importantly, normal family. She is loathe to introduce them to her family, the most lovable and eccentric people you’ll ever meet. There’s Grandpa, the businessman who hasn’t gone to work in 35 years and spends his days at graduation ceremonies and circuses. Alice’s mother, Penny (Karin Rosnizeck), finds a career in every new thing suggested to her. Paul (John McCracken), Alice’s father, creates fireworks in their basement. And then there’s Alice’s sister Essie (Britt Fucito) the candymaker/aspiring ballerina and her husband Ed (Matt Williams)…who plays the xylophone and prints material for the bottom of Essie’s candy boxes.
Let’s not forget the colorful characters who visit the Sycamore house once and simply never leave…and you begin to see Alice’s dilemma. But of course, the inevitable meeting must happen, and bedlam ensues. There are political undercurrents that garnered more than a few laughs due to current affairs.
The Sycamores might be a little more over the top than most people you know, but it’s an age old dilemma. Who hasn’t been embarrassed by their family or friends at some point in their life?
Castaways has done an admirable job with show. They have a good and practical set (Katherine Biscula & Gavin Tameris), eye-catching costumes (Zina Bleck), and well-done sound design (Lynn Lacey).
Most of the actors do their roles very well, each bringing something unique and special to the part. Rosnizeck, a non-native English speaker, manages to find just the right amount of ditz and charm for Penny and never misses a joke. Fucito is more graceful than Essie should be but her adorably clueless delivery is spot on. Tameris as Mr. DePinna is operating on a completely different planet and it’s hilarious. Worcester’s role as straight man Tony is a challenge for most actors, but his genuine and earnest portrayal is endearing. The Kirbys (Troy Caver & Kathy Gurchiek) are curmudgeonly and thoroughly memorable, and Caver is heavily channeling Jimmy Stewart to our full delight. Sallie Willows as Gay Wellington gives us a fun and terrific cameo of the staggeringly drunk local actress.
First time director Biscula has done a solid job with casting, and Acts I and II move swiftly. Act III is a little on the slow side, but the pictures of chaos constantly created are perfect.
Come spend a few hours with the Sycamores…they’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you grateful for the relative normalcy of your own family, and most importantly, they’ll provide an escape from the dreary headlines of today.
*A special note…my husband and I met 3.5 years ago playing Alice & Tony in a McLean production of YCTIWY. Last night was a bona fide walk down memory lane!
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/3495.